Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Museum and An Abbey

The past couple of days have been very busy, but I keep trudging through! Yesterday we went to Barbican, a residential community, and the Museum of London. The Barbican was a very interesting area: it was filled with commercial looking buildings that actually were residential buildings and, within this community, there were various places for residents to go to, from restaurants to music venues. It reminded me a lot of a college campus, except it was filled with families instead of, as President Durden would say, “young scholars.” After the Barbican we walked next door to the Museum of London. The museum was quite interesting, sharing with those who wander through it London’s history through artifacts, displays, and videos. I learned a lot about London’s origin and about many of the cultural, political, and aesthetic it has gone through over the years.

Today we went to Westminster Abbey, a very famous church in London. Nowadays it’s fame has grown exponentially due to the fact that Prince William and Cate recently wed there as the news so often points out to the world. The church was not what I was expecting. It was filled with shrines and tombs of past Kings and Queens as well as influential people from London’s history, like William Shakespeare. In addition to this, the church had an altar that is used to perform traditional church services at as well as a museum and, wait for it, a kiosk to buy food and coffee!! There was also a gift store that tourists are forced to walk through in order to exit. I was very disappointed with this church as it seemed more like a tourist attraction than a sacred, holy space. One was charged admission in order to enter and it seemed to me that most of the people there only paid to get in to see the photo exhibit of the royal wedding the church had on display. I am very surprised that the two well-known churches I have seen thus far are turning away from their traditional practice of being a holy space for those, instead turning into an opportunity for profit.

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