Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

The Sir John Soane Museum in Comparison to other London Museums

September 19, 2009 · 4 Comments

The Sir John Soane Museum was the last thing I was able to squeeze in before leaving for Norwich. The museum was interesting, however I do not think it was very educational. It was essentially just peering in on Sir John’s house and his collection, but there were very few signs telling the museumgoer about the relics that were scattered around the house. The architecture was amazing as was the collection, and like most of my classmates I would love to live there if it were not so narrow in parts of the house. However, I do not see its relevance to the course. Why Professor Qualls did you choose to throw it onto our list? I am having a hard time saying anything about the museum because I do not see how it fits into the theme for this class. Honestly, I have learned more from the museum’s website than I did in the actual museum. The website has the entire collection on it with blurbs about the history of each piece. However, unlike most other museums the website does not display a mission statement or any of the museums goals. I believe that every museum should have a mission statement. This makes helps the curators organize exhibits, artifacts, and information panels. With out a strong goal relics are just crammed together, like in the V&A, or there is very minimal educational material, like the Sir John Soane Museum.
I never thought of myself as particularly interested in museum studies, but after visiting all these museums I can see what foundations need to be there for a museum to work. Out of all the museums we visited I feel that the Docklands museum did the best job in presenting and preserving its artifacts and its history while doing a great job educating its visitors. The museum has a clear goal: to educate the public on the history of the docklands. It also has a clear pathway that one can choose to fallow at their own pace, while the British museum had no path way and tended to get very congested at various parts of the exhibits. These large crowds of people greatly affect the safety of the artifacts that the museum is trying to preserve. People should not be allowed to touch, feel, hug, and take pictures of ancient Egyptian sculptures. These crowds are also not good for the safety and education of the museumgoer. Old women or men should not have to be pushed around to have a glance at the mommies, and one should be able to easily see and read the information panels next to the relics if they choose to do so. At least The Sir John Soane museum limited the number of people in the museum at one time in order to protect the artifacts and the people (as it would probably be a fire hazard for too many people to crowd into that building). Maybe the British museum can look to the Soane museum for advice and limit the number of people in the mummy room at one time and increase security. While perhaps the Sir John Soane museum can fallow the British museum’s model and provide more information on the artifacts within the house.

Categories: Rebecca
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4 responses so far ↓

  •   Karl // Sep 19th 2009 at 15:16

    Why did I assign the Soane?! Think a bit more. Where do you think the mummies and other objects came from? Empire? Where did the people we have been studying come from? The empire. Soane and his collection are a wonderful example of the pillaging of the world during his day.

  •   becca136 // Sep 20th 2009 at 09:13

    I could see that… I just did not like the way the museum was displayed. Plus, you can see that in all the other museums we visited. One can very plainly see British imperialism in the British museum… I just don’t see why it was necessary to also see it at the Sir John Soane Museum. As Brandon would say it is not always necessary to have a “fish market” of fish beating you over the head. By this I hope you realize that I mean no offence.. just trying to do some analysis.

  •   Karl // Sep 22nd 2009 at 05:53

    No offence at all. I just wanted to push your analysis a bit further.

  •   The Sir John Soane Museum in Comparison to other London Museums | Norwich Travel - Culture and Recreation // Sep 25th 2009 at 18:34

    [...] You find the original post here blogs.dickinson.edu … | becca136 [...]

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