Results 1-10of 13 Reviews
London, United Kingdom
June 23, 2009
From journal London Museums
by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
February 28, 2009
From journal The A-Muse-ment Arcades: Culture on the Cheap
April 22, 2008
From journal London, Free and Easy
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
March 24, 2006
From journal My Trip to London
by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
August 21, 2005
For all this breadth, however, you can get a reasonable sense of London's past, from pre-history to 1914, when the museum's collections terminate, in a couple of hours, either with the recorded tour (for which there is a charge) or by taking advantage of the extensive labeling that accompanies each item on display. Indeed, more than any individual exhibition, this straightforwardness is probably the museum's best attribute since London's history has been extremely complex. It commendably covers the experiences not only of the nobility and merchant class, but also examines the plight of women, the poor, and immigrants, who usually get short shrift in this kind of museum elsewhere.
Unusual for a civic museum, the first gallery "London Before London" deals with pre-history, providing a wealth of information on the early inhabitants of the Thames Valley in neon-lit display cases that wouldn't be out of a place in a modern art museum! Personally, I prefer the Roman Gallery, which harks back to the city's foundation as Londinium and contains a pair of very impressive reconstructed rooms featuring actual Roman mosaics. I enjoyed the recordings featuring spoken Latin and the cookbook of foods consumed by Roman patricians – including milk-fed snails and stuffed dormice! By contrast, the Tudor and Early Stuart section is little more than some ostentatious furnishings accompanied by a careworn display on the Great Fire of 1666.
This seminal event in London's history is your cue to walk to the airy downstairs galleries. "Late Stuart London" covers the rebuilding of the city, largely under the auspices of Sir Christopher Wren, best known for designing St. Paul's Cathedral. "Eighteenth Century London" examines the development of both bourgeois and plebeian culture in the reborn city – as well as displaying a cell from the notorious Newgate Prison. The museum's largest and most interesting exhibition covers London's rise as the world's preeminent economic and cultural center between 1789 and 1914. If you're pressed for time, you should come directly here, as it goes further in explaining how London came to be the city it is today than any other exhibition.
The museum's exhibitions compose an essential introduction to London. It also plays host to quite a few events (many geared to families and most free) every day, many of which offer the opportunity to add an interactive element to your visit. Inquire at the Information Desk when you enter, where you can also pick up a free museum map and find out about temporary exhibitions (for which there is often an admission charge.)
From journal London For Nothing - Seeing Sights for Free
March 23, 2005
From journal Three Weeks in London
December 12, 2004
The museum is very logically organized and begins with pre-historic England. There is a great deal of information concerning the Roman settlement and occupation of Londinium, which was much more extensive and long-lasting than I had realized. Along with a replica of the interior of a Roman home, one can see a remaining section of the original London Wall. There is also an interesting exhibit with artifacts from the Roman Temple of Mithras.
You move through the medieval period, the Renaissance, and onward through London history. Replica interiors from different eras are very interesting and well-done. The exhibit on the Great Fire of 1666 is particularly compelling.
I plan to return here for a more thorough visit on my next trip. The book shop is very good, and there is a café in the museum for lunch or tea. Near the Barbican and St. Paul tube stations, the museum is easily accessible from anywhere in London.
From journal Exploring the City
November 25, 2004
From journal London Sightseeing
by Sarah the Expat
March 30, 2004
The museum is well hidden, a bit hard to find. Go to either Barbican or St Paul's tube stops and look for the signs. The museum entrance is actually located in the network of walkways called the Barbican, up above street level. Just walking through those can be an adventure!
From journal An American Expat In London
February 20, 2004
The Roman London exhibit was very fun. The highlight of that exhibit was the street scenes section. Objects were placed behind cases as typical Roman Londoners would situate them, and there were models and painting representing people, the houses, and even the paving on the outside of the cases. There is also a very informative Victorian London exhibit and a cool model of London during the Great Fire of 1666. The model is a bit interactive and great for kids (though it requires some patience).
The museum is sort of out of the way and, as a result, the two times I visited, it was almost empty. In the Roman exhibit, I was one of two people in it. Nevertheless, it’s location in the Barbican Centre is worth a visit. It's London architecture at its worst and only visited by business and art/theatre types, who visit nearby venues. Also nearby are some of the Roman walls and other leftovers of ancient Roman London.
From journal Museum Junkies guide to London