Tag Archives: museums

Cape Town Caper

Large black-maned lions used to roam the land where Cape Town now stands. The last one was shot sometime between 1802 and 1858.


Rembrandt – a Cape lion

The sea used to wash through what is now downtown. It was pushed back in the 1930s and 40s – presumably using the know-how of the Dutch, those masters of land reclamation.

Cape Town from Table Mountain

Cape Town is a working harbour.

District Six was a thriving mixture of cultures. Apartheid policies razed it. It is now largely grass supporting a few religious buildings. People sprawl between the occasional boulders and rubbish. Continue reading

Washington Where

Washington, where Lincoln contemplates in a Greek-inspired temple. The throng inside does not impinge on the feeling of sacredness engendered by the dim light; the inscriptions of his speeches; his giant, raised presence and the viewer’s knowledge of his deeds. He gazes over the splendid WWII memorial – all water and stone and silent names and frolicking Americans – towards Washington Monument and the Capitol. With his white and shade and flowing marble, one can’t help but experience him as a deity. Continue reading

Rembrandt’s Ghost Is Your Own

I don’t know about you but when I stand in someone’s entrance hall I expect them to turn up….even if, as is the case with Rembrandt, they have been dead for almost 350 years. I wouldn’t have been surprised – okay, I wouldn’t have been overly surprised – to see the great man himself appear. Continue reading

Hand-held History

When I visited the umbrella museum near Stresa in Italy (I recommend it – such variety) a few years ago, my curiosity was piqued. I vowed to seek other special-focus museums in my travels.

The porcelain museum in Zurich fitted this brief quite nicely so I decided to have a peek.

“The porcelain museum has all the trappings of excitement,” the BB said when I told him of my upcoming adventure. Little did he know. Porcelain is hand-held history. But the history and the excitement start before one reaches the display. Continue reading

Time Travel Toys

A cardboard box and a stick, that’s all children need to keep them occupied. But if you want to see some of the other things adults have given children over the years to keep them happy, pop on down to the Toy Museum in Zurich. It is a place of quiet, time-travel adventure.

Juxtaposed with a modern exhibition area, the toys from the 1800s to present day are displayed in easy-to-see cabinets. I wandered past windup toys, dollhouses (An excellent way to see how technology and changing societal mores have affected everyday life. What role do they play in cementing a player’s role in society?), trains, cars, soldiers and stuffed animals, to name a few. Continue reading

City of the People

When I first visited Stuttgart, the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany, in 2006, I found it as open, vulnerable and focussed as a toddler. It was the quarter final of the Soccer World Cup. The streets of this then 600 000-strong city were almost devoid of cars. A hush had fallen but a roar, muted by distance and walls, rose from apartments, houses and pubs whenever Germany scored a goal. Afterwards, the streets ran thick with jubilation. People crammed into the Schlossplatz (Palace Square) in the centre of the city, united in a single emotion. Continue reading

Trains, Carts and No Automobiles

I am decidedly unenthusiastic about locomotives but, moved by the ravings of The BB and a friend, I decided to give the National Rail Museum in York a whirl.

If you are remotely interested in trains, it’s heaven in several warehouses. Continue reading