ART GALLERIES and MUSEUM STUDY TOURS- 2017
During 2017 we undertook two study tours to London and Paris to visit a broad range of galleries and museums to refresh and update our appreciation of the fantastic number of major cultural institutions in both these cities.
The scale and breadth of these facilities is impressive.
For example the British Museum, Great Russell street London is 264 years old, cover 92,000m2 which acoomodates 94 galleries and has fostered the Natural History Museum in South Kensington and the British Library at St Pancras.
The Museum has some 8 million works in its collections and today is principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities. It was founded as a “universal museum” – dedicated to human history art and culture.
In direct contrast to the size and complexity of the British Museum is the singularly focused Mary Rose Museum at H.M Naval Base. The Mary Rose is a carrack-type warship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII built in 1510.
The museum has been built over the ship in its dry dock ,which itself is a listed monument. During construction of the museum, conservation of the hull continued inside a sealed “hotbox”. For the first time since the ship sank in 1545, she can now be viewed “dry”.
This new museum displays most of the artefacts recovered from within the ship in context with the conserved hull. Since opening it has been visited by over 500,000 people.
Somewhere in the middle are the Imperial War Museums- a family of 5 facilities. Including:
IWM London, LWM North in Manchester, IWM Duxford in Cambridgeshire, Churchill War Rooms in White-hall and the Royal Navy ship HMS Belfast which is permanently moored on the Thames.
These tell a story from the First World War to the present day and help describe the world we now live in.
Galleries visited include:
- National Gallery Trafalgar Square London- 6 million visitors’ per annum and JMW Turner
- Saatchi Gallery Kings Road Chelsea, London- contemporary art
- Centre Pompidou Paris
- Musee d’Orsay Paris- impressionist heaven
- The Louvre Museum Paris
Iconic is the best descriptor for these facilities as they are at the core of their host cities and through their collections play a major role in the storey telling and narrative of the world. The old have fostered the new- the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and MONA in Hobart, Tasmania.
There are lessons to be learnt from this:
- Generally these facilities are located within the body of their city and accessible by walking.
- They are valued and used by their communities.
- They are major drivers of domestic and international tourism.
- They make a major contribution to the life of their cities.