The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Museum Crawl: In pictures (part 3)

Okay, so it's rather a long time now since the Museum Crawl. I'm going to have to trawl my memory for part 3. I'm hoping the other intrepid 'crawlers' will be able to point out any omissions!

At the end of part 2, we'd visited New Walk Museum, the City Gallery, Guildhall and Cathedral. After getting caught in the rain, and a spot of shopping, we set out to discover Roman Leicester at Jewry Wall Museum.



Without beating around the bush, I think it's far to say that Jewry Wall is a little shabby and showing its age. Apart from the uninspiring brutalist architecture of the building itself, a palpable sense of neglect pervades the building and displays within, some of which appear to have changed little since the museum opened some thirty years ago. The museum is currently only open to the public during the weekends.

Jewry Wall perhaps prompted the most debate of the day. The archaeologist in our party was disappointed with the poor interpretative techniques employed, the medieval historian, with the sweeping assumptions made about the homogeneity of British society during the Anglo-Saxon era, and I was rather - as always - disturbed by the human remains on display (which I feel is unnecessary and disrespectful, though I recognise that's a fairly minority view). Indeed, what fascinated both Ceri and I the most were the positively ancient tableaux depicting Anglo-Saxon daily life originally made for the Festival of Britain in 1951, historical museum exhibits in their own right. While the labels accepted that several aspects of their presentation were now thought to be inaccurate, by their inclusion - though be it in a peripheral way - in the main narrative, they reinforced outdated misconceptions. Apparently everyone was terribly blond in those days. ;)



Not only that, we all felt that the museum wasn't making the most of its proximity to Jewry Wall itself, the ruins of a Roman bathhouse, which could have been the focus of a really exciting and inspiring exhibition given a bit of time, energy and thought (not to mention money, of course).



Although, it was fun to be able to ramble over the ruins during a brief spell of sunshine after we'd been chucked out of the museum itself (closing time!).


Temporarily all-museumed-out it was time to head in the direction of our next and final location, Belgrave Hall and a date with 'Night at the Museum'; one of a series of similarly-named events taking place across Europe to celebrate International Museum Day. But first, victuals! On aching feet, slowly we made our way to Belgrave Road and an early dinner at Bobby's, the well-known vegetarian Indian restaurant. Mmmmmm....mango lassi *drool*.


To be concluded in part 4 (uploading photos by way of a dial-up Internet connection is positively painful!)...

1 comment:

Ceri said...

Hi Amy
I think you have accurately captured this part of the day, and yes it was disturbing to see all the blonde saxons in the exhibition, especially since they were made not so long, about 10 years or so, after the Nazi regime had been attacked for its bid to highlight the supremacy of the Ayran race (1951). The mind boggles really.