As I said in Kiss of Death, yesterday was disapointed by the national maritime museum in Greenwich, the highlight being a talk given at the start on the Death of Nelson, which could have been given anywhere. This I don’t think is much if at all the fault of the museum. One of the most important functions of museums seems to be to preserve artifacts and facilitate scholarly research but my concern is with public education, or perhaps my own use of museums to educate myself. I have long been an admirer of Jane Austen’s world, coming away from many articles feeling as if I had visited a museum (see, for example, From Classic to Romantic: Changes in the Silhouette of the Regency Gown and London’s Lost Rivers).
This is what I realised yesterday. Despite spending hours getting the train out to Greenwich and walking around this world-class museum, I learn more, much more from some of Vic’s articles, and they are more satisfying. For a museum to make sense it needs a narrative–a good guide, possibly a written one (after all that is what Vic is working with). I should have found a good guide book, selected a theme or two and made do with that.
If you have any interest in the regency period you could do worse than browsing the articles in Jane Austen’s world.