Pitt Rivers Museum – Oxford England
I wanted to share a cool museum experience from my travels. The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England was one of the most interesting museums I’ve visited in a long time. It’s organized so differenty than anywhere else – by theme, rather than by time, culture, or other more common organizing principles. So when you walk in, you see massive glass cases with titles like, “Treatment of the Dead” with items from all around the world, different time periods, etc. Then the next case was “Treatment of Dead Enemies”! It’s a middle school dream 😉
In a compact area there were arts, tools, dolls and toys, games, weapons, jewelry, and more. It was like a “cabinet of wonders” taken to the next level. Here’s the history of the museum and collection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitt_Rivers_Museum
You might think this would be confusing or just a big mess, but it’s remarkably interesting. It immediately brings up questions of similarities and differences, and I found myself thinking of all sorts of follow on questions and things I really needed to look up – unfortunately no data roaming in England, so it had to wait!
When you see a case full of objects collected together as “Geometry in Art” and see similarities in Hawaiin gourd vases, Native American weaving, and Islamic tiles, it makes you wonder what the connection is? Material? Technique? Cultural restrctions or beliefs?
Here’s a few photos of the exhibits – we ran out of time and had to be shooed out the door! https://www.flickr.com/photos/sylviamartinez/sets/72157647508564411/