It's like walking into my art history book, the early one. There's the Rosetta Stone. And the Parthenon Marbles. And Egyptian art. It's truly overwhelming. There's just so much there that it's hard to imagine as you move from room to room.
I went thinking that the things I most wanted to see were the Parthenon Marbles and the Sutton Hoo hoard. Because of the layout, you walk through a fair bit of exciting stuff before you get to either. The first thing I saw that really got me was the Rosetta Stone. I guess I didn't realize it was there, but it was. And thinking about how it was used to figure out heiroglyphs and stuff, it just blew me away. And then, of course, I laughed inside thinking about the joke about the American who wants everything in English because if it was good enough for Jesus... you know, that one.
I read the side card description and thought about all those orientalists, French and English especially, who'd studied all sorts of ancient languages, and how few people I know who speak more than three languages. (I can claim two only.) But those orientalists learned amazing ancient languages.
It just amazes me that you're allowed to take photos in the museum. And they didn't even have flash rules. (But I mostly went without flash, since the flash tends to wash out the shadows on this sort of thing, and then you can't see it really well.)
Finally, I reached the Parthenon Marbles. And I'm sad to say, they just aren't as wonderful as they are in pictures, especially of pictures set in the context of the Parthenon itself. So I was a bit disappointed (but still, the Assyrian lions!).
I felt sort of the same about the Sutton Hoo hoard, alas. And I didn't get to see the round reading room, because it's used as an exhibit room right now, for an exhibit of medieval relics, and so is covered up. I know! But still, Assyrian lions!
And there were mummies, too. Mummies sort of weird me out. I almost get sick thinking about people using "mummy" as medicine back in early modern times. Bleach!
I love this sort of library room. It's like a fantasy library to me, though probably not especially convenient.