• Marta Bashovski University of Victoria


It’s my first visit to the British Museum. Previously, I’ve avoided it, viewing the space as an homage to the spoils of colonialism. That, and I tend to feel anxious around large groups of tourists. I find myself here now, on the recommendation of a professor who suggests that, given my interest in the history of ideas and their ordering, the Enlightenment Gallery would be the one spot in the Museum I really should see. I arrive only a couple of hours before the museum’s 5:30 closing time and right away, I am sucked into the vast gift shop that takes up most of the central section of the Museum’s Great Court, a wide marbled space with rooms and hallways jutting off to the galleries. Much of the gift shop is aimed at children -- there are toy Vikings, toy pharaohs, costumes, colouring books. A series of costumed rubber ducks, including one wearing what appears to be a version of...