#4 – Free museums
I am a firm believer that all museums should be free.
I know, I know – sometimes this isn’t possible. Sometimes funding is short and demand is high and who wouldn’t want to make more money to preserve their paintings and sculptures and such? But just as with other beautiful and important things in life, preserving greatness doesn’t mean nearly as much if the audience isn’t there to enjoy and learn from it.
That’s why I’m such a huge fan of the vast number of free museums in London. On any given day, a person can walk into the British Museum and see the Rosetta Stone. They can go visit the Magna Carta or Shakespeare’s original manuscripts at the British Library. They can take a free tour of the Tate Britain and follow a literal timeline of British art. They can form their own opinions about censorship, ownership (as in the case of the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum), citizenship (as in the Imperial War Museum – NOT free grumble grumble). Whether visitors take a free tour (offered at all free museums here and highly recommended!), stay for five minutes, or visit every day all day for a week, they can do so without barriers, without balancing the cost versus what they hope to get out of the experience.
Museums have a lot to teach us – about where we came from, how other cultures live, what we can learn from the past as we plan for the future. I think we’d all be better off if we hung out in free galleries a few hours a week, just reminding ourselves to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the world.
The #4 is brought to you from… somewhere in France!
All photos are my own unless otherwise stated.