Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Spiral Staircases and Model Boats

August 21, 2009 · No Comments

We began our tour this morning on a ferry ride along the Thames River. I was a bit confused by the general docking and disembarking procedures… backing up 20 feet to leave? what? We arrived in Greenwich early enough to beat the crowd to the Prime Meridian. Although I remember learning about this in middle school, to actually see it made it “real”… So this is where everything starts… We were then allowed enough time to explore the museum and I think my favorite part was the Christopher Wren octagonal room on the upper level. The dome was so intricately carved, yet the rest of the room was simple. The tall windows, which encircled the room, all provided incredible views. On one of the walls two portraits of  Charles II, the reining king at the time, stare down at you. Maybe this is just my observation, but I think there is something effeminate in the Stuart line of kings that I never see in any other portraits of royal British males… thoughts? I also really liked the working telescope at the top of the building and the exhibit just below it that questioned our human concept of time and its importance. However, the tight spiral did scare me a bit. I always wanted to have a spiral staircase in my home. This experience has swayed me.  

After a delightful lunch at the Admiral Hardy, Aiden, Henry, Brandon and I set off for the National Maritime Museum. Although I found this museum interesting, some of the exhibits were a bit disappointing. I had high hopes for “Art and the Sea,” but depictions of the Royal Navy conquering all others can only stay interesting for so long. At least there was one contemporary painting tucked away in the last corner of the room. I was expecting the “Passengers” exhibit to relate more to our course and show some of the experiences of immigrating to Britain by sea. Instead, this was more like an advertisement for cruise ships. Although, it did have a few Titanic and Lusitania relics. Of course there were boat models everywhere! In all different shapes, sizes and purposes. From the Museum we headed to the Old Royal Naval College Chapel. Along the way we stopped in the Painted Hall. It was incredible! I have never sen so much Trompe l’oeil in my life! The Chapel was amazing and the way the ceiling was arched made the acoustics of the building near perfect… I only wish I could have heard some of the Trinity College music students performing in there to get the full experience. Our group decided to walk under the Thames to take the DLR train back to the tube. The walk underground was cool (temperature wise) and relatively quick. Once we got on the train it was smooth sailing (or, riding) all the way back to the Arran House. I would have liked to see the Market, but at least I have an excuse to go back and wander the streets of Greenwich.

Categories: Grace · Museums

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