Friday, March 09, 2007

SUNDAY 11th March - My new favourite museum

Today I'm going to the Pitt River's Museum in Oxford, which is possibly my favourite museum! It is definitely the most unique museum I have ever been into - absolutely crammed with different objects from the shrunken heads used in Harry Potter to lucky charms held in the pockets of Cornish Fisherman. It's an "ethnographic" museum, which basically means anthropological. Unlike most museums you visit, the objects are not arranged by date or region, rather by theme or function, so that you find yourself making comparisons and thinking about the different (and similar) ways people create solutions to the same problems all round the world. My favourite case is called "Treatment of Dead Enemies," which juxtaposes shrunken heads from the Philippines, with pictures of royal beheading at the Tower of London.

David Attenborough in the foreword to the museum's introductory booklet says " are led to delight in the versatility and ingenuity of the extraordinary species of which you are a member."

I also like the fact that you can ask for torch to explore some of the darkest recesses of the museum and that at closing time one of the university porters comes round ringing a huge bell!

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