Tale of two museums


Today we had our friends back staying with us for some days over the weekend so decided to have a day out in York to see some stuff and do some touristy things i.e. have a walk around the city walls. Walking through town on summer Saturdays is not the best time to visit the centre so thankfully we were not having to endure fighting our way through the mass shoppers, day trippers and hen parties as we had a purpose to out visit. Before we get to that I thought I would take a snap of Monk Bar one of the Roman gates to the city. Maybe one day I will get round to doing a whole circuit which I’m sure I have never done and maybe take some snaps of that too. York has lots of little hidden lanes and back passages that are interesting to search out like my previous post about smallest street in York and although having lived there I still like to seek out the passages less travelled.

So going back to the purpose or one of the reasons for the day out, we wanted to visit the Truth and Memory Exhibition at the York Art Gallery an exhibition of paintings covering the First World War and is from an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum marking the centenary with some of the galleries own material. It was very moving seeing the pictures by artists who had enlisted and on the whole been at the front line through the war and had been as one would expect changed completely by the experience. Many of the pictures captured a sense of the location or subject that they were portraying that you could almost touch and smell and as you would expect the desolation and death was a common theme.

It was a horrendous war that saw a huge human cost in lives that were un-neceassarily wasted on all sides and the conditions of those who lived and died there could not be imagined or accepted today. Having been to a couple of the war sites in France I can say that there was a very oppressive atmosphere and looking at the pictures brought back those memories. It is also interesting to think about the reasons that caused the onset of war and also the current political landscape in Europe. I am not saying we are heading for war but we have short memories and now that the last veterans have passed on there is no direct link with those events. I realise that those events are unlikely to be replicated but it is possible if we forget history and the quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” feels truer in the current political climate, all over the world.

After a quick cuppa and a rather tasty ham and pickle sandwich we set off to visit another one of York’s many attractions across town. The National Railway Museum is a great place to go and has greatly changed over the years that I have been going or been taken to from a dingy and small shed to the current expanded and rambling site. It has also evolved from a collection of trains to a story of the age of the railways and the impact of there invention. I still enjoy visiting NRM and find new things I haven’t seen or am reminded of things I have forgotten each time and one of the main attractions was Flying Scotsman although not there had the story behind her rebuild. It is still testament to the public interest in our railway heritage seeing the masses of people drawn to this loco on its recent return to mainline running. Pictured below is another piece of history with the record breaking Mallard. Such and amazing and beautiful piece of engineering that makes todays trains look very mundane and boring but then it did come from an era of Art Deco and the desire to make things look beautiful over function. Unfortunately we had limited time and so it was a bit of a whistle stop tour, excuse the pun, before we had to return to collect car but I’m sure I will once again return to see what has changed. If your in York find some time to visit it is well worth it.

Main Hall at NRM


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