Tag Archives: Institut Francais

Museums and Exhibitions

Whilst travelling about the country for conferences, I have to say I did manage to fit in quite a few museums and exhibitions as well!

Sadly in Oxford, nothing was open before or after the conference but I did manage to nip into the Ashmolean on the lunch break as it was so close – I loved this in the corridor though – one way to display them all!

image of lots of busts on a wall

I gave myself the whole of Sunday to enjoy exhibitions in London – and it was also Open House weekend – the equivalent of my own Heritage Open Days so I was sure there would be plenty to see.  I started off at my favourite of all – the V&A and their fabulous shoes exhibition.  I don’t pay to visit many exhibitions but I did feel this one was worth it.  Big enough to feel you had seen something but not so much that you feel overwhelmed.  I was in there just over an hour and I read all the captions!  I particularly liked the bit on the upper level where they displayed collections from different shoe collectors and how they store them – one woman had hers on bookshelves as decoration!  Lovely idea if you have pretty shoes.  Another wonderful feature of the V&A is their cloakroom – it made such a difference to viewing this that I could leave my suitcase behind and it’s not even a charge – it’s a suggested donation.

As it was Open House, I moved on to the beautiful Institut francais du Royaume-Uni, nearby on Queensbury Place.  I love art deco buildings anyway, but art deco with a library is even better!  This is the outside – brick in a street of Georgian stonework with lovely detailing

Institut Francais external shot

Then inside:

Inst Fran (4) Inst Fran (3) Inst Fran (1)

Truly gorgeous.  And open to the public for non-members to use the reading room (free wifi!) in Central London.  Definitely worth knowing about.  Just to finish off a great trip, they were having a booksale downstairs – mostly in French but I got some lovely French Language copies of Spot for a friend’s bilingual son!

I went on to the Science Museum and their “Information Age” exhibition – as a Librarian, I really felt I ought to!  I did enjoy it – although seeing all the old radios and TVs made me think how much my Grandad would have really loved this exhibition.  I particularly liked the telephone exchange section – I would have liked to try putting in cables…  They should do a “could you have been an operator?” interactive test!



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