Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Posts from the ‘Museums’ category

Behind a barbershop in Dar es Salaam

If you ever find yourself near a barbershop in Dar es Salaam late at night and you hear music, follow the sound. You won’t be disappointed.

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Fatberg!

It feels slightly odd to be voluntarily spending a Saturday morning going to see the remnants of a 130 tonne, 250 metre long fatberg, but it is the Museum of London’s new star attraction and I fancied a bit of local tourism. 

The Great British Seaside

International readers of this blog may already be sneering at the concept of the ‘The Great British Seaside’, but as the Greenwich National Maritime Museum’s nostalgic exhibition shows, there’s plenty that’s wonderful and interesting about a British beach – it just rarely includes sunshine.

Songs for Pythagoras & Undaunted Women

Peter Von Tiesenhausen is an ecologically-minded artist, who salvages to create. His extraordinary ‘Relief’ – a mountain-scape sculpted from the clapperboards of an abandoned community hall – conveys beauty and sadness in equal quantities and is going to stay in my mind for a long time. As will the Art Gallery of Alberta’s retrospective exhibition ‘Undaunted: Canadian Women Painters of the 19th Century”. Who knew there was such a great gallery in Edmonton!

Tredegar House

Tredegar House in Newport is where the National Trust are experimenting with allowing visitors to touch and feel history, rather than pointing from behind a rope. As it stands, I would wager that Tredegar House is the only place in Britain where in a single morning one can be tutored in the art of brushing up a top-hat, put on a shadow puppet show, study Elizabethan art, dress up as 1920’s housemaid, enjoy Elizabethan portraiture and sit down to dinner with a Russian princess.

Dropping in on Dr Johnson of Lichfield

I do love a good dictionary and Dr Johnson remains the master of the genre, three hundred years after he compiled his first such tome. This is why markontour and friends took a short detour to Lichfield on our long drive back to London from the English Lake District, for it was in this little Staffordshire city that Samuel Johnson was born in 1709 and his childhood home has be turned into a lovely museum and bookshop.

John Kemp Starley and the two wheeled revolution

The ever-wonderful Vestry House Museum is currently showing a great little exhibition about the development of the modern bicycle and the Walthamstow man who invented it. As Walthamstow successfully experiments with mini-Hollands – neighbourhoods designed for pedestrians and cyclists – it’s fantastic to know that the bike itself has its roots in E17.