After all of the morning activities were finished, I finally got to visit the Beatles Museum!
For those who don't know, I'm a bit of a Beatles fanatic, so this was pretty much a dream come true. I was already excited because we were in Liverpool for the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles' debut single, Love Me Do. I knew we were on the right track when we saw a Beatles cover band playing one of my favorite songs, I Feel Fine, in a packed courtyard. We proceeded along the path and waited for about twenty minutes to get into the museum. (The wait wasn't bad though! With a steady background of Beatles hits in the background, and with an ecstatic anticipation of getting to see early Beatles artifacts, I was doing awesome.)
Once we were finally in, we walked through the entire museum. It was set up in chronological order, so it felt like we were dropped into a different scene in the band's lifetime with each room. My favorite section was the reconstruction of The Cavern, the club where the Beatles got their start and played at 292 times over their careers. It felt almost sacred, and the collection of iconic instruments on stage were practically treated as relics.
The museum also showed a good deal of insight into the individual members psyches and growth over the years. A wall of quotes showed the range of depth of thought the Beatles gave the world; there were snarky jests, but also deeply insightful philosophies on life and love.
A few pieces made me stop and be filled instantly with emotion, and they were both pieces related to the late John Lennon. The first was a pair of his iconic round-rimmed glasses, laid simply and timelessly on piece of dark blue cloth. The second was a recreation of the White Room from his apartment shared with Yoko, complete with the white piano from Imagine. The lyrics to Imagine were inscribed on the wall, and seemed to speak through time to everyone who visited… “I hope someday you join us/ And the world will be as one.”
So, enjoy these pictures and video… With Love from Me to You!
In the Yellow Submarine
Today we awoke in our hostel, had a quick and light breakfast, and then walked to the Liverpool Docks to see the Maritime Museum. A retired history professor from Liverpool, Mike Boyle, met us and gave an interesting and very detailed account of Liverpool's connection to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. This lecture included incredible facts, such as nearly 50% of the slaves transported to America were taken on Liverpool-based ships.
This lecture gave great background to the permanent floor of exhibits on the history of slavery and African culture, which was partially organized by Professor Boyle. The exhibits featured artifacts spanning the centuries from slaving contracts, to manacles, to traditional African clothing, to displays on food and music. It was an immersive experience and felt like we were traveling through time.
After the Maritime Museum, we were free to wander the city for a bit. I snapped some fun shots of the Liverpool Docks and surrounding buildings and snagged a small lunch at a combination Chinese Restaurant/English Diner. After the small bit of exploration, we hopped back of the bus for a small tour of important Liverpool sights. It was surprising to see that so many streets (including the famous Penny Lane) were named after slave-trade profiteers.
After the tour, I went to the Beatles Museum. Curious? Read the next post, Liverpool Day 2 Part II!
Exhibit From the Slavery Exhibits
Today, en route to Liverpool, we stopped into the Quarry Bank Mill. This is a mill that has been standing since the early Industrial Revolution. It specialized in textile production, and had facilities to turn cotton into thread and thread into cloth!
We toured the Mill, examining all the various machines. It was so awe-inspiring to see these machines in action. These machines were hundreds of years old and still worked well. As a Technology Studies Concentrator with a History Major, I was pretty much in paradise. These same machines represented so much major progress for the human race! They transformed the way thread and cloth were created and shaped Britain's history. Enjoy the few pictures and video below!
Today, for my History of London class, we toured the area surrounding South Kensington and the Royal Albert Memorial. It was a beautiful day, and the area is filled with amazing museums and fun architecture. We had just studied the Great Exhibition of 1851, so seeing the area that evolved from that space was really incredible. I really enjoyed getting a closer look at the Memorial and we had an interesting conversation about its meaning and about the legacies of Prince Albert.
After class, a few of us meandered through some sections of the Natural History Museum. It is an amazing museum filled with incredible exhibits. I loved getting a close look at the rock formation exhibits and some extinct preserved creatures. The visit was too short to see everything, so I will definitely be returning soon!
I spent the rest of the day doing readings, cleaning, and general homework. This monotony was broken by a nice long run to the grocery store for dinner supplies and a relaxing bus ride home. I also finished addressing some postcards and sent them off today! More will be written this weekend, as I am riding a bus for five hours to visit Liverpool!
Today for art history class, we climbed all the way up to the fourth floor of the British Museum to enter the Print and Drawing Study Room. It houses some amazing materials, and you need to register to enter. After some brief signing-in and rules explanation (including no cameras, which saddened me greatly…) we were ushered into the large room.
It was a large room filled with volumes and large folios. Immense wooden desks with easels lay ready for the invaluable drawings and other works to be placed upon them for closer examination. The smell of old ink and paper, better than the best library, permeated the air. The quiet, still air lent an atmosphere of near-reverence to the room. It was almost as if one could feel the weight of the historical treasures that surrounded us.
Our course today focused on the evolution of commission drawings. We started with early works, including some stock drawings by Benozzo Gozzoli, which were designed to be placed cookie-cutter-style into commission drawings, creating a fairly standardized picture. The pieces at the end, by artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were much more fluid and sketchlike, allowing the artist to craft a scene creatively, rather than dropping in stock pieces.
It was incredible and surreal to be mere inches from works from the Renaissance masters. This class has been an incredible experience so far. Not only do we get to see magificent works by famous artists all the time, but I am also learning so much about what to look for in art. I am learning so much new information about everything, and I am loving it!
Gozzoli (c. 1450)
da Vinci, (c.1470)
Michelangelo (c. 1508-1512)
Reference drawing for Sistine Chapel's Creation of Man
Today was an adventure-filled day!
After class, Grace and I decided to make the most of her last day and see lots of London.
We ate some awesome Indian food, explored a bit of the Tate Modern Art Museum, and climbed the over 300 steps to the top of the Monument to the Great Fire.
We ate Lamb Kalia (lamb and potatoes), Chicken tikka, Stuffed paratha, Papadum, and more at a small restaurant on Bricklane. It was amazing and so delicious! We also picked up some little desserts from a local Indian bakery, and they were another amazing taste of home.
After filling our bellies full of scrumptious food, we proceeded to the Tate Modern to explore a few exhibits. The building was massive and so impressive. It's amazing to see how much art is available to see free in this city. I love just being able to walk ten minutes and see some world-class art for free.
Post-post-modern art experience, we decided to go traditional touristy and climb to the top of the Monument. Over 300 steps later up a spiral staircase, we emerged onto the observation deck and were greeted to an amazing 360 degree view of London. It was absolutely gorgeous and totally worth the arduous climb.
We finally made it home, where I made Parmesan Chicken and some Caprese Salad. Dinner was enjoyed by all. Pictures below, per usual!
It's a Long Way Up…
Today was a wonderful day, per usual. I started with an early morning run around the city and finished in the town square as a market began. I bought some rotisserie chicken and some great seeded bread, and enjoyed the fresh bread melding with the hot chicken as the sun came up over the city. I then made my way back to the hostel and enjoyed some breakfast and tea with my fellow Grinnell-In-Londoners.
Post-breakfast, we walked around the city on a walking tour, led by Professor Nuttel, which brought us to the Groeninge Museum. The museum had a fantastic collection of paintings, especially a few spectacular pieces by Jan Van Eyck, a famous painter who worked in Bruges. We analyzed the paintings and enjoyed the incredible opportunity to see them literally inches from our faces.
We then went on to tour a few more places, including a fantastic church with a statue by Michaelanglo! After the museums and churches were all visited, we were free to explore the city. I went chocolate shopping and also picked up a few postcards. It was another wonderful day in Bruges, and I am excited for our trip to Brussels tomorrow. Enjoy the pictures.
View From The Room
A Piece by Jan Van Eyck
The Michelangelo Piece
We arrived in Bruges, Belgium today after a wonderfully smooth train voyage from London. It was so incredible going underneath the English Channel and popping up in another country completely. We spent the day touring the city as a class and walking around on our own. Predictably, I managed to get ahold of some very fine chocolate. It was delightful. It's a good thing I do not live here, or I would probably eat the chocolate all day long.
Tomorrow involves more touring and looking at various art pieces throughout the city. I am excited to start my day with an early morning run around the city and along the river and then shop at a market nearby. Then I will meet up with the rest of the group for breakfast in our hostel's morning room. Exciting!
Even the Bricks are Beautiful
I Marked Grinnell With Scarlet and Black
Today for my Cultures of Empire class, we met in a rather fun setting, a Belgian-style coffeehouse/bakery! We spent the first half of the class discussing the reading over some coffee, tea, and breads with spreads. It was a wonderfully different way to start our day, and the location made it easy to stroll over to the V&A (the Victoria and Albert Museum) one block away for the second half of class. We spent the second half of class looking at some archival pieces, prints from the Exhibition of 1851, which we had read about for class and spent the previous hour discussing. It was incredible to hold these antique, yet perfectly-preserved documents and study their details and ideas firsthand. The archive room is amazing, and I cannot wait to do some preliminary research on my free days for my potential MAP. Enjoy the pictures below!
A Quali-Tea Way to Start Class
Claire Cares for Coffee
A Unique Classroom Setting
The Archived Collection Cover
Detail From a Print
The Class Studies the Prints Firsthand
After my classes today, I ventured over to the area by St. Paul's to explore the Museum of London a little more. One of my class projects is to examine two different artifacts and connect their significance to what we have learned and read about in class. It's an exciting assignment that uses the city as our classroom yet again. I love visiting all the various museums, and I keep finding that the more I learn in classes, the more I pick up on as I roam the city.
Also today, we received our train tickets for this weekend's trip to Bruges, Belgium and saw a fantastic play, Love and Information. It involved about fifty short scenes meant to capture a moment in time, and I really enjoyed the range that the actors had and the innovative set design that seemed dually evocative of a camera shutter and a television set.
Enjoy the pictures from the Museum of London, and look forward to pictures tomorrow when I visit Greenwich for class!
One of the First Fire Insurance Policies
Old Clock in the Museum's Collection
Visually-Impressive Printing Press Display
Beautiful Buddha Donated to Museum