A Day at the Greenwich National Maritime Museum

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Greenwich is one of my very favourite places in London. It is filled with pubs, quirky restaurants, markets (vintage, hand-made and food!) and boutique shops. It is also the home of Greenwich Mean Time, the Greenwich Observatory, The Cutty Sark and, amongst other attractions, the Greenwich National Maritime Museum.

Above you can see my friends Richard (right) and Aaron (left) who are walking towards the impressive facade of the maritime museum.

It was a lovely day outside -- and don't these deck chairs look fantastic in the summery sun? Don't be fooled, though, it started to pour with rain as soon as we got inside. Richard and Aaron ended up buying two £20 umbrellas that display a star chart on the underside when you open it up.

That's okay, though, as there's plenty to see and do inside. This is the entrance exhibit where you get to walk through a rather beautiful display of the history of Maritime navigation and artifacts.

Aside from plenty of interesting objects and displays, the 'white noise' areas of the galleries are (quite literally) decked out with intriguing maritime verses.

I particularly liked this wall: all blank and blue except for the opening verse from John Masefield's Sea Fever:

I must go down to the sea today, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by,

There are some amazing objects in the galleries. This lady is a figurehead from a ship. Isn't it fascinating? Who was she modelled on? What's her story? I'm such a sucker for museums.

I've always been fascinated by the representation of women in art and literature. These women are from the decorative exterior around the bow of the ship. They seem to be anchored down and are, as far as I can tell, linked to an ancient superstition that 'acknowledges' a semi-clothed woman's ability to calm a stormy sea.

Here's Richard posing under the beautiful display of ship lanterns throughout the ages.

You can also see Nelson's Trafalgar Uniform (complete with bullet hole in the shoulder), photography exhibitions, and (if you're there early enough to see all of that stuff, above) you also get to see a 4.5 billion year old meteorite. Geekery, FTW.

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