A Touch-and-Feel Guide to the British Museum
by Tess Tabak
At the British Museum in London, many of the world’s greatest treasures are on display. As I studied the Rosetta Stone, one of our modern-day wonders, there was only one thing on my mind: What does that feel like?
Fortunately, the British Museum anticipated that desire. They recently started hosting Objects Handling Sessions, where visitors can touch historic artefacts daily under supervision of a trained volunteer. They’ve also added an interactive Touching Tour, which allows blind visitors to handle plaster replicas of some of the artwork, to better visualize it. These features can help bring history to life in your fingertips.
However, I noticed no one seemed shy about touching the real deal. “Please STOP TOUCHING the art & artifacts!” reads one 5-star review from an unamused guest.
Indeed, the guards seemed blind to it. Pictured below, a woman rests on an ancient statue marked PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH.
Encouraged, I partook myself. Here is a guide to my favorite sites at the British Museum by taste and texture.
1) The Sphinx
The Sphinx tasted enigmatic. Truly, there is nothing in the world like the feel of a genuine Egyptian sphinx beneath your tongue. Each lick imbued me with years of wisdom.
On the downside, I probably have a curse now.
2) The coin room
The coin room in the British Museum has a handful of coins out at all times to be handled. Naturally I popped a few in my pocket when no one was looking.
I felt supremely powerful holding the coins of generations past. However, I discovered that the thousand-year-old drachmas, though purportedly valuable, could not buy me a snack from the museum’s cafeteria. Whoops. Now I know what people in Greece feel like.
3) Napoleon’s bed
Comfy, but short.
4) The Mummy
“I know what you did to the Sphinx,” a voice whispered in my ear as I stroked the Mummy’s hand. Whoa. I’ve really got to get out of here.