Since I was a little girl I've been making dens....and don't think I'll ever stop..........

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Pitt RIvers Museum

It was impossible for me to visit the Museum of Natural History yesterday, without at least, a flying visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum, even though I was on a two hour parking ticket that was threatening to expire. You have to go through one to get to the other.

I read an article in Time a couple of years ago describing it as the 'jewel in Oxford's crown.' We have some great museums in Oxford. The Ashmolean is the most amazing building, hosting wonderful exhibitions and it's quite grand. The Museum of the History of Science is kind of fun and quirky and has camera obscuras and wonderful mathematical and scientific objects. But I think the Pitt Rivers takes the biscuit by just a little bit..... but it's a close call. I spend hours in each of them....always leaving with inspiration for yet another piece of work.

I'm not sure what the attraction with the Pitt Rivers is, probably the people is after all a museum of anthropology. It's quite small and is dark when you leave the airy Natural History Museum to enter into it. When you do it's like another world. The display cases are full of pots and instruments and lamps and lanterns and even the odd shrunken head! Beneath are drawers that you can open and's a little bit like looking inside an old fashioned school boy's trouser pocket and finding his treasures....and you almost expect to see Indiana Jones, leather whip and all, appear from a corner somewhere chased by an angry native whose trying to retrieve his belongings that have been stolen by Indi!

I love the patterning on these North American pots.
I would have loved to get a closer look at the naive painting on this North American Indian skin with the rows of deer and birds eye view of manpowered boats. It's pinned to a wall behind a glass cabinet so it was a little tricky to photograph but will go back to do a drawing.


  1. The fabulous thing about the Pitts Rivers is that it has not the homogenised look that so many of our museums have these days.

    The new Ashmolean came within a nat's whisker of becoming such but has has risen above it. Sadly the wardens that protect the galleries are often dreadful ... I was "breathing to close".

  2. I had a similar problem in Modern Art, although I was actually touching the frame!

    They even let you take photo's in the Pitt RIvers.....and with a flash!