Art and history is what I learnt about on Saturday and I don't think words can convey how much fun it was. I spent the afternoon at the Victoria and Albert Museum with a friend and it was truly wonderful. Not just for the company of course, but the setting was rather charming too.
Anyone who says they're not interested in this museum, because it's supposedly all about art and fashion and they have no interest in those two matters, simply haven't given it a chance. I cannot say I'm particularly interested in art, although I can appreciate it, I don't always understand it fully, and fashion, well, one only needs to have a look at my wardrobe and general attire to get the drift. Not really my thing. But this museum really is about a lot more than just that.
I have walked through it numerous times, wondered through galleries of sky high statues and diamond encrusted necklaces several times. I have enjoyed lunches and teas in the old fashioned cafe, gazing at the ornately decorated dome whilst listening to the enchanting music being played on the grand piano in the corner. But never, never have I enjoyed my time there more.
The reason for such enthusiasm? My friend and I joined a couple of tours. Free tours I should add. Yes indeed, education is there for all to grasp, you just have to reach out and take it. And take it we did, because we attended two tours, one after the other. We'd barely recovered from an hour of British Galleries, from James I to the Great Exhibition, when we were taken on an introductory tour of the V&A, admiring a selection of objects which truly brought the museum to life. It wasn't a simple building full of thousands and thousands of objects anymore, it had become all about the pride and joy of Prince Albert who felt very strongly about educating the masses and making art accessible to all, about statues given by the Grand Duke of Tuscany to Queen Victoria, about the shock a five meter high statue of a naked man (Michelangelo's David) caused and the 1 meter wide fig leaf subsequently commissioned to hide some of David's attributes during visiting hours...
Truly inspiring and educational, in the most fun way ever. I urge you to attend these tours when you have the opportunity, you won't regret it! Obviously, there are about 50 volunteer guides there, so it is likely your experience will be different to mine, but all I can say is this: I will no longer wonder around this museum aimlessly, and I shall try and join tours anywhere possible. When you have limited time and most importantly limited knowledge of what it is you're looking at, it's the best way to enjoy it and come out a different person, one a little more knowledgeable.