Leicester, Oxford, London


I guess it’s been about a month since I last updated. The first week or so of April I was still recovering from the chest infection, but it was a darn good excuse to stay in and rest, but also to get work done. We’re now fully into the dissertation period, and I have my second meeting with my supervisor next week. A lot of time has been spent in the library! Spring is in full swing, which means lots of rain, which inadvertently helps me focus on work. I’ve also gone to a few Indian dance classes in the evenings, like bhangra and bollywood, just to change things up a bit.

And come Saturday April 21st, Mom & Dad arrived in Leicester! This was the vacation I was waiting for. We spent the weekend in Leicester and I showed them some of my favourite places around town, including the open market and Mrs. Bridge’s Tearooms. This allowed them to get over jetlag before we headed off to our next destination, Oxford. Oxford has plenty of museums to explore (Ashmolean, Pitt-Rivers, Natural History), we toured through one of the many colleges, and ate at the same pub as CS Lewis and Tolkien, ‘The Eagle and Child’ (apparently they nicknamed it ‘The Bird and Baby’). We took a day out to visit Blenheim Palace, home of the Duke of Marlborough, and although it rained on and off all day, we still agreed it was our favourite day.

We celebrated my birthday the night before we left for London, with dinner at a Jamie Oliver restaurant, and banoffee pie for dessert (an English thing with bananas, cream and toffee). The rest of the trip we spent in London, seeing the sights. We attended a service at Westminster Abbey, and visited the amazing Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. We of course visited many other museums, and I enjoyed the ‘Dickens and London’ exhibit celebrating 200 years since his birth. We spent a day in Greenwich, devoted to astronomy and all things maritime. Dad and I sat in the public gallery at the ‘Old Bailey’ to see the men in white curly wigs and black robes. And possibly best of all, I got us some £10 theatre tickets for ‘The King’s Speech’ at the Wyndham Theatre. I wish I could go to the theatre every weekend…

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The beautiful Blenheim Palace

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A Victorian Education


Once again, it has been awhile since I last wrote. I had just gotten back from Berlin, and had a few days off before new classes started. It had been a rough few weeks as I got the flu, was stuck in my room reading, and still jumped into a full on week of 9-5 lectures for my special option ‘world arts/museum ethnography’. Then I had a matter of a week to write my 3,800 word essay on repatriation and museums. The highlight out of this mess was visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, which is essentially a museum of a museum. It’s stuck in the early 20th century and consists of cases crammed full of the weird and wonderful, like a puffer fish helmet, or the ever popular shrunken heads.

Inside the Pitt Rivers Museum

While I was working on my essay, we were also beginning our final taught module, on communication, media and exhibitions. This includes a group project creating an exhibit out of several random objects and our burnt-out imaginations. At the end of this month, each group will be installing their exhibit in one of the display cases around the museum studies building. With eight people in a group, you can appreciate that it’s difficult to come to consensus, but I suppose this is what real work will be like. After completing the exhibition installation, we then each need to write some long-winded essay on our process, before being set free for a month of vacation, and preparing for the dissertation period beginning in May.

I realize that most of what I’m talking about is school-related, but it’s not ‘all work and no play’. That is if by ‘play’, you think hiking and museum trips! Last weekend, I went on a long 6 hour hike with a few friends in the Peak District National Park (google it). It was full of beautiful scenery, but I spent two days just recovering from the effort. Yesterday I went with the ‘Museum Society’ to Ironbridge Gorge, and the Blists Hill Victorian Town, where we traded our money in for farthings and shillings, and explored the streets, shops and houses to our hearts’ content. Ironbridge Gorge happens to be a UNESCO world heritage site, as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and home to the world’s first iron bridge!

Thanks for reading, and hopefully next time I will know my summer internship placement, as well as my dissertation topic, and a few more other weekend trips to talk about.

A bit of atmosphere in the Peak District

 

Singing songs in the Victorian public house!