by Brenda W. Clough
Museum overload is easy. You just go to the British Museum. This is where Brits have been stashing loot for centuries. It is the entire Smithsonian in one building. Every time some Iraqi or Greek demands their toys back, the BM taps some local billionaire to add or revamp the exhibits and make them so magnificent no one could envision a change.
So sorry, Greece — I don’t think you’re getting the Parthenon marbles back any time soon. When last I was here they had the panels propped up on the floor, just the way Lord Elgin set them up. Today they have added a room at the back of the Ancient World wing in the exact size and shape of the ancient temple; all the carvings are lined up in order around the room. It is actually better than the original building because you can see them up close. It is unbelievably cool.
And we saw the Assyrian bull gods. And we saw the carvings of the sack of Lakshish in Mesopotamia. And we saw many curiously familiar statues and vases, which you yourself can see on the over of books and textbooks and volumes of Plutarch. And we saw the Rosetta Stone. And after that I had to be revived with a glass of high-octane cider and a ploughman’s lunch in the restaurant. Then it was on to the Sutton Hoo treasure and more Roman antiquities — I found a lovely silver dinner service to use at my hero’s wedding, and the bride is going to be puzzled at those backward swastikas on the platters.