Museum of London Archives/Museum

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Date Visited Archives: July 7, 2014

Date Visited Museum: July 6, 2014

The Museum of London was probably my favorite museum.  The museum chronicles the history of London dating back to 450,000 BC.  I would highly recommend anyone visiting London to take time to go through this museum.  The museum highlights the major events throughout London’s history.  I visited the museum on my own on July 6th.  On July 7th my class received a tour of the museum’s archives.  Both experiences were really great.  

The museum was established in 1976.  It contains over one million items in it’s main collection.  Additionally, there are over six million items in the Museum of London Archive.  The archive houses the London Archaeological Archive and Research Center.  Our class was given a tour of the archive by Dan Nesbitt who is an assistant curator there.  Mr. Nesbitt took us through storage rooms in the archive.  Most of the storage areas are climate controlled.  The archive is constantly receiving new material because almost every time construction is done in London, new materials appear that need to be excavated and cataloged.  Mr. Nesbitt showed us varies items from their collection including a soot covered brick that was burned in the Great Fire of London in 1666.  

It is incredible to me how much they do at the archive.  Along with performing excavations around London, the archive cleans and catalogs all of the materials.  They also take and analyze soil samples from construction sites.  Parts of the archive felt extremely clean and organized and other parts seemed more like organized chaos.  They had a room that was full of soil samples so essentially it was full of dirt.  

I have no idea how they decide which items to display in the museum itself.  The museum was beautiful.  I think it does an excellent job highlighting the major events throughout London’s history.  First-hand accounts of the London Blitz are projected in a room located in their World War II exhibit.  It was amazing seeing the interviews and hear the different stories of people who survived during that time period.  

Toward the end of the museum they have the Lord Mayor’s Coach.  This is an impressive red and gold coach.  It is used every November to take the Lord Mayor of the City of London to Buckingham Palace and back.  It was also really exciting to me that they are constantly updating their exhibits.  They have an exhibit toward the end of the museum about the 2012 Olympic games in London.  This brought a lot of questions to mind.  I wonder how they decide what to save and what to discard from the present day?  

I love that fact that so much extraordinary history can be found in one city.  The Museum of London does an excellent job chronicling the history of the London.  The archives are even more extraordinary considering the amount of material that they find, catalog, and store.  These were, by far, some of my two favorite places in London.  


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