This doesn't quite relate to journalism, but I had a distinctly British-education experience this week that surprised me. I visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford on Tuesday with my religion class and was interested to see that in the Ancient Egypt section, some of the artifacts on display were completely available to the public. I’ve been to similar historical museums before in the States, and it seems like all of the items are always contained within glass cases unless it’s a large sculpture or painting.
In this section, there were some stones with hieroglyphics on them mounted on the wall, with information cards in front of them. No glass, no ropes blocking them off. Even more intriguing: there were no signs or anything saying not to touch them. I didn’t, because as a 21-year-old university student, I would rather not get yelled at for touching things I’m not supposed to in a museum. (Just in case it’s some well-known bit of English manners to just not touch it, without them having to warn you.)
I really liked this, though, because it made the artifacts and all of the information really accessible. I read about the stones and then was able to look at them up-close, in detail. Being inches away from a piece of history like that and getting to study it so easily was an amazing experience.
Has anyone else noticed this in other museums they've been to? Are there places in the States that are like this, too?
Okay, I might have touched this other one when no one was around. Don't tell on me!