Indigenous Australia at the British Museum… with a baby

We are currently taking a “holiday at home”, and plan to spend the next two weeks doing lovely things in and around London, making the most of the city as well as enjoying spending time as a family of three.

As the weather wasn’t looking spectacular, we thought we would do something indoors, and decided to go and see the “Indigenous Australia” exhibition at the British Museum, somewhere neither S nor I have been in quite some time. I was excited to go as this is the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia, both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, through objects. You can take the woman out of the anthropology degree…

Frida basically slept the entire way round after a strategic bit of milk at the beginning, which meant S and I were able to walk around and actually discuss what was on show! Amazing I know. I thought the exhibition was interesting, looking at the relationship that indigenous Australians and Torres Straits Islanders have with their landscape and setting out the history of their interactions with colonialists and present-day Australians. I mainly enjoyed having to think about something that wasn’t baby related for a little while!

Image of the exhibition, taken from the British Museum website

Image from the exhibition, taken from the British Museum website

Ideally I would have liked more information and context and history, though. It’s the sort of exhibition where pre-baby I would have bought a book on the topic in the gift shop (then in all likelihood read thirty pages and then started reading something else that piqued my interest). Post-baby I just thought “maybe if F is napping one day I will google it”. Know thy limitations, right?

Frida clearly enjoying the exhibition...

Frida clearly enjoying the exhibition…

Although I enjoyed the content of the exhibition, I did not at all enjoy going to the British Museum with a baby in tow! It’s not one of my favourite museums to begin with – it has a terrible cafe lay-out for a start, big error –  and it was just really unpleasant. It was absolutely packed with tourists despite being a Monday, which made navigating a buggy around less than joyful. The lifts to the exhibition were really poorly signposted.  The queue for the toilets was enormous, even by central London museum standards. The floor which the exhibition was on didn’t have any chairs, and the exhibition only had one small bench, so I had to breastfeed sitting on the floor. One of the security staff was also very rude. All minor things in and of themselves, but they added up to give us quite a poor experience!

When visiting a museum or gallery we would normally stick around for coffee and cake, but given the above we really didn’t fancy it, so instead we went for a wander around Russell Square on the way back to the tube. Frida was enthralled playing with S, and mesmerised by a tree trunk (!), and I managed to get ice cream all over myself including in my hair. All in a day’s work.

Frida having a lovely time with her daddy

Frida having a lovely time with her daddy

Ice cream fiasco

Ice cream fiasco

Cost: £20 (£10 entry to the exhibition x2), £2 ice cream

Travel: public transport

Would I recommend it: The exhibition itself? Sure, if you are interested in that sort of thing. The overall experience? No, not with a buggy and young baby. Sorry British Museum!

This post was one of my “holiday at home” posts, read more of them here

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