THATMuse

Introducing our London KidPack!

We are very excited to announce the arrival of our new London KidPack! Joining our ever-successful Paris KidPack, it is full of fun activities, puzzles and creative fun. Add one as a bonus after a family treasure hunt at any of our three London museums, and keep the discovery going!

Learn how to write in Egyptian hieroglyphics with the Rosetta Stone, decorate your own Sutton Hoo Helmet with Norse warriors and gods and spot the differences with Shiva; Destroyer and Lord of the Dance!

We’re rolling it out this winter to celebrate our Public Easter Hunts in London. Discover a unique Easter Egg hunt at the Natural History Museum and search for eggs from creatures great and small, from Dinosaurs to platypuses on Sat 28th March. Can you beat our tricera-top score?! 
Or celebrate a world of festivities at the V&A on Sat 11th April. Don your Easter bonnet to hunt for Britain’s burning Guy Fawkes and treasures of China’s Lunar New Year.  

Young girl posing as Degas's ballet dancer sculpture at musee d'orsay

Keep an eye out on our blog, the first Tuesday of every month for our THATKid Tuesdays project. Each day we’ll reveal another KidPack page and use it to learn about art history and the museum collections!

Find all our Public hunts at Eventbrite or book a hunt at any of our five museums across London and Paris including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and British Museum, and coming soon in FLORENCE!  

Give the gift of treasure hunting!

Looking for a special gift for a special person? Have friends or family going to London or Paris at Easter, this summer or who may live there? Why not offer up a museum treasure hunt, making explorers of them for some maverick museum fun!


All of our Treasure Hunts are now available for purchase as Gift Certificates!

Simply send us a message on our Contact Us page. If you provide us with the information needed (The museum if decided, names of the gift giver & recipient, a message and of course their email address), we will put together an email for you or us to send them all they need to set up their THATMuse! We do not send out physical certificates, as we have had trouble with them reliably arriving to the intended in good condition or at all…  

· Gift Certificates are valid for up to six people. 

· We require at least 48 hours’ notice.

· The gift certificate has a three month expiry from the date of purchase, and it is the recipient’s responsibility to get in touch with THATMuse to book a specific date and time.  Specific dates and times are subject to availability. It is best to request a range of dates/times to find one that best suits our availability and the recipient’s choice.  

PRICES/TYPES OF HUNT:   

– A Luxe hunt for families of 6 or fewer (if families are smaller they are welcomed to invite friends to consist of a 6-person booking) costs £300/3 hours. This covers the organisation & materials (team packs with clipboards, the hunts, highlighted maps, pencils, as well of course as weighty medals for the winning team and teasing poke prizes for the 2nd place team). During the 3 hours the THATMuse Rep briefs teams on the hunt, shows them how to strategize and orients them to the museum’s layout; whilst playing we prowl about after them to spot check no cheating and maybe throw help on bonus questions. Then we all regroup for score tallying and prize-giving (which can be organized at a nearby café/pub or within the museum depending on client plans).   

– A budget version also exists where you are not met at the end of the hunt. 

SECURING YOUR BOOKING: When everything’s been set, we’ll send you an invoice payable by credit card online. Please note, no booking is secured until we’ve received this payment. Upon Payment we will send you our finished Gift Certificate to the recipient, with you in copy. Alternatively, if you prefer to give the gift in person, we can send you the PDF of the Gift Certificate to print and let them contact us with a set of proposed dates.  

Napoleon courtyard of the Louvre museum at night time, with Ieoh Ming Pei’s pyramid in the middle.

Amazing Accessories: The Language of the Fan

By Masha Voyles

Just a handy hint: the bits in bold might be the answers to bonus questions on your hunt! Buy your tickets to the Fashion Hunt at the V&A here.

If there’s one wardrobe item that I’m praying fashion will eventually bring back, it’s the hand-held fan. They’re greener than air conditioner, a good workout for the arm, and often really, really pretty. There were floral fans, feather fans, ivory fans and printed fans, mask fans and even map fans (which were among the first tourist souvenirs).  

Fans also often had hidden messages in them. This ‘Royalist’ fan, pictured below, would have shown the holder’s support for the Stuart royal family after George I, Elector of Hanover seized the British throne in 1714. It shows members of the Stuart royal family in its folds. On the left, Charles II is shown hiding in a tree after having been defeated by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester, and next to him Queen Anne is shown ascending to heaven. Who would need to read books about English history if everyone carried educational fans?! The fan both reveals and conceals the wearer’s allegiances: once slightly folded, it would only have shown a demure floral design. But that design also has a meaning: the white and red roses were actually the Stuart coat of arms. Pretty sneaky stuff, right?  

Royalist handheld fan from V&A collection showing support for Stewarts, 1700's
Royalist fan at the V&A 

There was even an entire fan ‘language’: for example, holding it with your little finger extended meant ‘goodbye’, presenting it shut meant ‘do you love me?’ and carrying it in the left hand in front of your face meant ‘we are watched’.  My personal favourite is ‘I love you’—you would draw your fan across your cheek—difficult to do this subtly, I think. Here’s a Vogue article linking a whole table of fan-language & its fun, secretive translations. Expanded vocabulary can of course be found at the V&A, where there are three British Royalist fans on display! Might want to memorise a few of them to up your flirting game!  

Are you signed up for our upcoming new hunt, the Fashion Hunt at the V&A (Kicking off Thanksgiving week from 2-4:30 pm on Sunday 24 November)? You may just have read the answers to some embedded bonus questions in this post! Tickets are limited, but can be bought on Eventbrite & find bonus answers in posts about fashionista Josephine Bonaparte (yes, Napoleon’s Empress) or the Pandora Doll, the predecessor of our runway sampling (which Napoleon banned, incidentally, frightened state secrets were sewn in and exported with these dolls!)

Historical Fashionistas: Josephine Bonaparte

By Masha Voyles

Just a handy hint: keep an eye out for answers to bonus questions on your hunt! Buy your tickets to the Fashion Hunt at the V&A here.

The Empress Josephine—Napoleon’s wife—was a massive shopaholic, and was always getting into trouble with her hubby for overspending. On the other hand, this was somewhat unfair, considering the fact that he would then make snarky comments if a woman wore the same dress twice in front of him. It was also part of Josephine’s duty as empress to restore the French luxury industry, which had been all but destroyed during the French revolution. She needed to be a trendsetter to convince the French people that conspicuous consumption was cool again (and that it wouldn’t lead to one getting one’s head removed!) 

Safe to say, Josephine took this part of her job description extremely seriously. She often wore white, both because Napoleon would often say how much he loved her in white, and because it was a luxurious colour (imagine how difficult it would have been to keep spotless in the days before washing machines!) Her style of dress was inspired by flowing, high-waisted Roman and Greek styles, thus differentiating herself from the ‘corrupt’, flowery 18th-century rococo styles of Marie-Antoinette and the Ancien Régime. 

François Gérard portrait of Empress Josephine on a throne in a crown and white dress, at the Museum of the History of France. 1800s
François Gérard portrait of Josephine at the Museum of the History of France

Take note of the high ‘Empire’ waistline in the portrait of her, and the gilded laurel-shaped embroidery at the bottom of the dress. The laurel is a symbol of triumph in Greek mythology—for example, the god Apollo is always represented wearing a laurel wreath. Might she also have been inspired by her husband Napoleon’s crown? (he’s often shown wearing a gold laurel crown in imperial portraits). 

Marble bust of Empress Josephine from the V&A Collection 1808 Joseph Chinard
Josephine in all her glory at the V&A

Want to learn more about Napoleon and his circle? Have a look at our blog post on the Borghese Beautyat the Louvre. It’s about Napoleon’s scandalous sister Pauline Borghese (of course posed as Venus Victrix), who was a feisty fashionista herself (when she fluttered down to keep her exiled brother company she brought her enormous wardrobe). The little corporal certainly did like trouble-making women! 

Are you signed up for the launch of our new Fashion Hunt at the V&A on Sunday 24 November? You may just have read the answers to some embedded bonus questions in this post! Tickets are limited, but can be bought here. You can also find bonus answers in our posts about Amazing Accessories (fans & their secret language!) and the Pandora Doll, the predecessor of our runway sampling (which Napoleon banned, incidentally, frightened state secrets were sewn in and exported with these dolls!

Before Anna Wintour? The Pandora Doll

By Masha Voyles

Just a handy hint: the bits in bold might answer bonus questions on your hunt!  Buy your tickets to the Fashion Hunt at the V&A here.

How on earth was a fashionable lady in the 18th century able to keep up with the latest trends? The answer was the Pandora, or miniature dolls dressed up in the latest modes. Keep in mind, this was long before magazines were invented—and the first ones were incredibly rare and expensive, as they were hand-painted by groups of (probably shockingly underpaid) little girls and young women! Clothing was also far more expensive than it is today, so it was important to know all the details of the cut, colour and fabric that you wanted.  

18th Century French Pandora fashion doll wearing gold dress with colourful details and with a creepy face

In 1712, when Britain and France were at war with each other, Pandora dolls were exempt from the ban on enemy imports, and even received a military escort! Marie-Antoinette, when preparing to go over to France from Austria, got sent a host of these dolls in different fabrics and fashions.  

An English 18th –century fashion doll in the Fashion Gallery at the V&A. There are 6 fashion dolls in the same room.  

With the advent of cheaper, ready-to-wear clothes and fashion magazines, fashion dolls seemed like a thing of the past. However, they made a brief return in 1945 in France just after WWII. The French economy—and the haute couture industry—was in tatters. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris decided to commission designers to dress these knee-high fashionistas in their creations, and to display them against lavish sets. The dolls were sent on tour all around the world and were called the ‘Theatre de la Mode’.  

fashion dolls from the ‘Theatre de la Mode’, now at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Washington State.
fashion dolls from the ‘Theatre de la Mode’, now at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Washington State. 

Are you signed up for the launch of our new Fashion Hunt at the V&A (Kicking off Thanksgiving Week at 2-4:30 Sunday 24 November)? Bonus questions are embedded in your treasure text. You may just have read the answers to some embedded bonus questions in this post! Tickets are limited, but can be bought here & find bonus answers in upcoming posts about Amazing Accessories (fans & their secret language!) and the feisty Fashionista, Josephine Bonaparte (yes, Napoleon’s Empress) the predecessor of our runway sampling, the Pandora Doll!

Paranoid Napoleon banned the Fashion Doll, because he was scared that state secrets could be sewn into the dresses & exported with spies!

Cafés at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Gamble room by Joseph Gamble in the V&A restaurant. Beatiful white marble and gold columns and decoration.
Gamble room, James Gamble, 1865 – 78. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Fittingly for a museum of art and design, there are three beautiful and inspiring places to eat, drink and rest inside the V&A. The Main Cafe is also the worlds very first museum cafe, with its three rooms still in their original design. All of these can also make great places for score tallying and prize giving after you THATMuse Treasure Hunt!

V&A garden cafe, with tables and chairs under umbrellas near trees and water feature
The Garden Café. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Garden Café

In one corner of the V&A’s beautiful garden is the relaxed Garden Café. Serving coffees, cakes and other refreshments in the heart of the buildings, its the perfect place to admire the building’s uniquely beautiful architecture.
We often begin our Travel Trail and Fashion Hunts here, (weather permitting!) and it can be a lovely place to dip your toes in the pool and enjoy the sun.

The Garden Café is open all year, weather dependent in December and January.

Sleek glass front of Sackler Courtyard cafe with white tables and chairs outside V&A
The Courtyard Café. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Courtyard Café

The new Courtyard Café at the Exhibition Road entrance is a stylish place to grab a bite, right next to the exciting special exhibition gallery. Depending o time of day it serves healthy breakfast pastries, open sandwiches and salads for lunch, as well as an interesting selection of British craft beer and sparkling wine.

Opening times:
Daily: 8.30 – 17.45
Friday: 8.30 – 20.30

Please note: occasionally the Courtyard Café will not open until 10.00 due to museum events.

Green decorated walls and stained glass windows in Morris room, 1866 – 8 Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Main Café
Gamble, Morris and Poynter Rooms

The V&A’s main cafe is actually the world’s first museum cafe! First built in the 1860’s, long before London’s other museums invested in catering, the South Kensington Museum as it was then known was a bit more of a trek out of the city proper than it is today. So the founding Director Henry Cole decided a restaurant would attract more visitors and aid in their enjoyment of the wonderful collection. He hired three eminent designers to decorate the rooms;  James Gamble, William Morris and Edward Poynter.
These incredible rooms now host a huge range of hot and cold meals, drinks and treat. You can even book a replica High Tea that Queen Victoria herself enjoyed!

Opening hours:
Daily: 10.00 – 17.10
Friday: 10.00 – 21.15

Blue porcelain wall decoration, stained glass windows and iron fireplace in Poynter room V&A
The Poynter Room

By Halle Trang

It might come as no surprise to you that museums are very popular locations to film in. Some of the greatest museum halls in London and Paris act as great backdrops for action scenes, and the actual art pieces provide amazing visual appeal in music videos. We scoured the internet to find movie clips and music videos that were filmed in the very museums we host treasure hunts in. Keep reading below to find out which movies were filmed in the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, British Museum, Natural History Museum, and the V&A!

JEAN-LUC GODARD’S BANDE A PART (1964)

Louvre, 40-second movie clip

This short clip comes from Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande á Part, which shows three naughty New Wave teens in the 60s, running through the venerable halls of the Louvre. How different the museum looked back then! Do you recognise the rooms they’re racing through or the Daru stairs they’re tumbling down? Can you imagine the stairs being as empty today?

THE CARTERS’S “APES**T” (2018)

Louvre, 6-minute music video

This is a 6-minute music video by Beyonce and Jay-Z in the Louvre taken place in the Denon & Sully wings at night. Please note there are many expletives in this song, so you may want to view before sharing it with your children. I show it to my kids every time we visit, quizzing them on naming the painters, dates, periods and titles of the works that appear (from Venus de Milo to Gericault’s Raft of Medusa and the Great Sphinx of Tanis), but completely understand if you want to edit this due to the swear words.

MARTIN SCORSESE’S HUGO (2011)

Musee d’Orsay, 1-minute movie clip of opening scene

Although it was once a train station, the Musee d’Orsay has now been transformed into the wonderful museum that it is. It is most commonly known for its clocks, which were repurposed and are now used as windows that overlook the beautiful city of Paris. This opening scene in Hugo shows the main character climbing to the top and looking out at the Parisian streets through the clock face.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S BLACKMAIL (1929)

British Museum, 3-minute movie clip

We can instantly recognise the tall columns of the British Museum’s main entrance in this movie clip, which shows a chase scene through the museum and what was once the British Library. This was one of Hitchcock’s first films to have a chase scene near a famous landmark, foreshadowing other greats like North by Northwest. Imagine if we had access to the domed roof like the actors did!

PAUL KING’S PADDINGTON (2014)

Natural History Museum, 4-minute behind-the-scenes video

Taxidermist and antagonist Millicent Clyde, played by Nicole Kidman, only has one goal in mind: capture Paddington the bear for his rare hide. This clip gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the film. Many of the Kidman scenes take place in the museum’s animal exhibitions, but can you spot any other famous attractions? (Think dinosaurs!)

ALEX KURTZMAN’S THE MUMMY (2017)

Natural History Museum, 1-minute behind-the-scenes video

Once again, a movie is filmed displaying the grand staircase in the central hall of the Natural History Museum. In this short 1-minute clip, Tom Cruise’s character is seen running across this area as shards of glass and dust fly towards him. Do you think the museum looks exactly the same as in the 2014 film Paddington?

THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS’S “HEY BOY HEY GIRL” (2008)

Natural History Museum, 3-minute music video

Our third find in the Natural History Museum comes not from a film, but a music video! The Chemical Brothers, a British big beat duo, came out with this song in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the music video for it was published on Youtube. In this music video, a young schoolgirl roams around the museum on her own and stares in fascination at the various skeletons and fossils around her.

DAVID KOEPP’S MORTDECAI (2015)

Victoria and Albert Museum, 2-minute movie trailer

The National Art Library’s reading rooms found in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London are popular filming areas due to their grandeur and great lighting. In this movie trailer, you can see Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) and Inspector Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor) discussing a missing painting in those exact reading rooms from 0:25-0:37.

Can you think of more films or music videos that take place in any other museums across London or Paris? Let us know in the comments below!

Largest, Oldest, Most Famous. These adjectives catch my attention. Continuing on this thread of new Islamic art wings at major museums (the Louvre, The Met), we’ve crossed the channel to London’s Victoria and Albert. The centerpiece to the Jameel Gallery of Islamic art, which opened in July 2006, is just that: The largest, the oldest signed, and undoubtedly the most famous Persian carpet in the world. Behold the Ardabil Carpet.

The Carpet at the V&A
LACMA Los Angeles

When William Morris, an art referee for the museum at the time (and the grandfather of textile design), first saw the Ardabil carpet in 1893 he was smitten, describing it as “the most remarkable work of art … the design is of singular perfection …”, banging on in delirious delight. Morris didn’t know that it was one of a pair (the other of which is at LACMA in Los Angeles, and was at one point in JP Getty’s possession).

Measuring 10.51m x 5.34m (34.4 x 17.6 feet), it has over 26 million knots of silk and wool. The pair took more than 4 years to weave and were laid on the floor of the burial place of Shaikh Safi al-Din, the founder of the Safavid Dynasty. They were in the mosque of Arbadil (NW Persia) from 1539-40, when they were made on royal commission, till 1890 when they left Iran for England. The inscription of the weaver (who wasn’t really a slave, but probably using the word in humility)

I have no refuge in the world other than thy threshold.
There is no protection for my head other than this door.
The work of the slave of the threshold Maqsud of Kashan in the year 946 (Muslim calendar).

 

After years of having it hanging from the wall, the Jameel Gallery had it restored outdoors near Wales. A slanted platform was made for it to rest and fresh river water, which is low in minerals there apparently, washed it clean. For some reason this amazes me the most about the Ardabil carpet – that it wasn’t cleaned in a scientist’s restoration lab. It is no longer hanging, but flat, and the V&A have a high-tech non-reflective whoosiwhatsit suspended above it so to protect the 10 colours from damage. Every half hour a dim light is switched on to illuminate it. A precious flash to behold this singular perfection.

 

The idea here is that the more you read of this THATMuse blog, the more likely you’ll be to find hints to existing THATMuse treasure… The more you read, the more you’ll win. This Ardabil carpet, however, is an exception. Not only would it be too easy to find in a THATVA, it is too fine to take photos of. Something sacred to even the THATMuse gods!

What more appropriate to the Beauty & Bestiary theme (or the Ladies au Louvre theme) than to linger on Three Graces (of which the Louvre has many – from Lucas Cranach’s to the Borghese 3 Graces) Bestiaries are fantastical animals, such as griffins, centaurs, unicorns, even gargoyles. They appear in all sorts of fun places, such as scrutinising Paris a-top the belfry of Notre Dame (Gargoyles), or overlooking Darius’s Palace at Susa (Griffins), as written about in the Benetton of Near Eastern Art.

So until I’ve reached a decision for the next THATLou, I’m going to linger on these two subjects, the Beauty and the Beast, and if you have a say on which subject would make the best THATLou theme, please feel free to either vote on the THATMuse facebook page or leave a comment here.

Three Graces (1482) detail in Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera at the Uffizi, Wikipedia

What personifies beauty or ladies in the arts for me are The Three Graces. The Encyclopedia Britannica (1974 edition) defines The Three Graces:

Greek = Charities, Latin = Gratiae. In Green religion = Goddess of Fertility. The name refers to the pleasing or charming appearance of a fertile field or garden. Their number varied in different legends, but usually there were three: Aglaia (Brightness also Elegance), Euphrosyne (Joyfulness also Mirth, Good Cheer) and Thalia (Bloom also, Youth and Beauty, Festivities).

Depending on the legend, they’re said to be the daughters of Zeus and Hera (or Eurynome is the daughter of Oceanus sometimes) or Helios and Aegle (a daughter of Zeus). Frequently the Graces were taken as goddesses of ‘charm’ or ‘beauty’ and hence were associated with Aphrodite (the Goddess of Love), Peitho (her attendant) and/or Hermes, a fertility and messenger god.

In early times they were often represented with drapery, but by the time the Romans got to them they were usually full-fledged flashing us: Unembarrassed of their beautiful form, and usually draped around one another opposed to in drapes. More to come on them this week.

Three Graces (1503-1504) Raphael, Museée Condé, Chantilly France, WikiPaintings

An example of Bestiary, to wait their turn and be covered after lingering on some beauty with various Three Graces…

Centaur, Borghese Collection Louvre, http://www.ArsMagazine.com

* The first image of the Three Graces is a sculpture by Antonio Canova (1814-1817), which is currently at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, who launched a public campaign to purchase it, much the way the Louvre bought Lucas Cranach’s Three Graces with another museum grassroots campaign.

Here are a few Chelsea places we’ve done score tallying for both travelling families on Luxe Hunts as well as for group hen hunts and prize giving ceremonies for corporate clients like Random House and Superdrug. As the V&A and Natural History Museum are just across from each other, the directions remain the same:

Bunch of Grapes (Pub)

Pub exterior, taken from TripAdvisor.

Bunch of Grapes is a lovely Victorian English pub, with original stensiled glass grand décor and dark woods throughout, with pleasant upstairs. We’ve conducted score tallying and prize-giving for up Random House here, a group of over 70 people. Bookings can be made online or by calling. Online booking for up to 8, requests can be submitted for large groups which are seated in the upstairs dining room. Service is always pleasant but it can be slow. This is a Greene King Pub.

Address: 207 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1LA
Phone: 0207 589 4944
Hours: 11:00- 23:30
Prices: circa £10 – 16
Web:https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/greater-london/bunch-of-grapes/menu/main-menu

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit, turning right
  2. Turn left onto Cromwell Gardens
  3. Turn right at Brompton Square Turn Right on Brompton Square and you will have arrived at your destination!
nhm to bunch of grapes

Hoop and Toy (Pub)

Pub exterior, taken from TripAdvisor.

Hoop and Toy is a cute, traditional English pub, with unique whisky and brandy bottle décor. It’s a cozy, welcoming environment, great for families and groups of friends and colleagues. Bookings can be made online or by calling. Online booking for up to 8, requests can be submitted for large groups. This is a Greene King Pub.

Address: 34 Thurloe Place, Kensington SW7 2HQ
Phone: 02075 898360
Hours: 11:00- 00:00
Prices: circa £10 – 16
Web:https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/greater-london/hoop-toy/menu/main-menu

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit
  2. Turn right and continue straight, eventually crossing Cromwell Road
  3. Turn Right on Thurloe Street- Hoop and Toy will be on your right, on the bend in the road
nhm to hoop and toy

Honest Burgers

Outside the South Kensington Honest Burgers, from TripAdvisor.

Honest Burgers is popular with kids and is just a short walk from either the NHM or the V&A. It has a cute, urban feel, and is better for small groups since the space isn’t that large. If you’re coming with a larger group, they would prefer that you call ahead two weeks in advance. Best availability is 3-6 on weekends. Honest Burgers offers mostly indoor seating but does have a few outdoor tables. Extremely friendly staff, eager to help and very attentive. Honest has both beef and chicken burgers, rosemary fries and delicious cocktails (preferred that drinks are ordered with food as the space is so small). Not extremely kid-friendly.

Address: 24 Thurloe Street, London SW7 2LT
Phone: +44 (0)20 3019 6440
Hours: Mon – Sun 09:30 – 13:00
Prices: circa £7 – 13 (menu here)
Web: https://www.honestburgers.co.uk/

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit
  2. Turn right and continue straight, eventually crossing Cromwell Road Turn Right on Thurloe Street
  3. Honest Burgers is almost directly in front of you
nhm to honest burgers

The Kensington Creperie

The café exterior, from this blog.

The Kensington Creperie offers traditional French crepes just a short walk from the Natural History and V&A Museums. Crepes are offered as both savory and sweet and the café also serves waffles and a variety of smoothies, juices, milkshakes and hot drinks. Typically, reservations aren’t necessary, but you can always call ahead to check availability. This option is better for small groups and families.

Address: 2-6 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2HF
Phone: 020 7589 8947
Hours: Sun to Thurs: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm Fri to Sat: 9:00 am – 11:30 pm
Prices: circa £5 – 15
Web: http://kensingtoncreperie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/KC-Menu-1.pdf

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit
  2. Turn right and continue straight, eventually crossing Cromwell Road
  3. The destination will be on your left (it has Green Awnings)
nhm to kensington creperie

MEETING POINT

Appropriate to our company name, your THATMuse Rep will be standing at a bust of a ‘Muse’. Upon entering from the main Cromwell Road entrance, we’ll be directly to the left of the revolving doors (marked as Stairwell A on V&A maps of the ‘Grand Entrance’). Your THATMuse Rep will have a white canvas THATMuse tote.

TOOLS

Freshly charged batteries in your phones/cameras (per team) & comfy shoes.


Your THATMuse Mission

Photo your team in front of as many pieces of Treasure as possible within the given amount of time (90 mins to 2 hrs.)
With each treasure photo you’ll earn 20 game points (about 500 game points), however, with careful reading you could pick more than 1000 bonus THATMuse points. There are several ways to do this. Our bonus questions fall into three key categories:

– Scrutiny (looking more carefully at the piece or surrounding rooms)
– Silliness (willing to trot like a Tang horse for bonus points?)  
– Knowledge (All of these questions can be answered within another piece of treasure text, within the hunt) 

There are also a variety of more artistic challenges & Letter Scrambles spelling out your prize treasure with THATMuse Letters embedded in the text, worth 100 bonus THATMuse points! We’ve intentionally provided more treasure text & fun than you could read about within the given time in the hope that you’ll want to return or extend your visit (& to ensure strategy!)




RULES

  1. Teams must stay together, must not run, jump, shout & no no NO touching anything
  2. No external help… If seen speaking to a tourist-in-the-know or V&A staff you’re automatically eliminated; Likewise, no googling the Japanese, no GPS-ing the Fashion Dept, or using anything other than your hunt & map… No phoning your Sinologist Aunt for help, either!
  3. Please be sure you have one (1) Master Copy with all the answers and only use one (1) camera/phone (to facilitate score tallying). In respect to Museum policy please mute your phones & no flash photography.
  4. Must meet back at starting point at the agreed time. Each minute late merits 5 negative points, per minute (!!) There are sometimes strategical reasons to be late, but attention: if you’re more than 10 mins late, you’re ousted!

Quite a bit has happened to the Victoria & Albert Museum in its 165 year history – heists, bombings, construction and moments of brilliance. These posts are based off our #THATMuseFacts on Twitter – because a tweet sometimes isn’t enough! If you like learning about funny, interesting or just plain bizarre facts about some of Europe’s coolest museums, follow @THAT_Muse_ on Twitter and look for our quarterly “Top 10” posts like this one about the British Museum, Louvre and Musée d’Orsay!

Velazquez' Toilet of Venus, slashed by Mary Richardson, militant suffragette
The V&A didn’t want one of their works to end up like the Velazquez above!

1) In 1913, the V&A considered banning women because it feared militant suffragettes would vandalize the museum. After Mary Richardson took an axe to Velazquez’s The Toilet of Venus in the National Gallery, alarm spread through London’s museums and galleries. The suffragettes’ actions actually contributed to the V&A’s decision to do away with admission fees in 1914, reasoning that an increase in the number of visitors would act as extra security against possible attacks.

2) A V&A custodian named John Andrew Nevin was arrested and found guilty of stealing thousands of objects from the V&A in the 1950s.

Some of his loot included diamonds belonging to Catherine the Great, swords and Chinese jade, which he smuggled out by stuffing them down his trouser legs. When asked for an explanation, Nevin said, “I couldn’t help myself. I was attracted by the beauty.” In total, Nevin stole 2,068 items from the museum – the largest ever theft in terms of quantity from a British museum (not the BM!). (Read more here!)

3) The oldest photograph of London, probably taken in 1839, is housed in the V&A.

The oldest photo of london, from 1839 of the Charles I statue looking down Whitehall
Today we might say this photo is sepia!

A man named Monsieur de St Croix took the photo from Trafalgar Square, looking down Parliament Street. It is actually a daguerreotype, so the picture is on a silvered copper plate. It is very detailed; if you look closely, you can see a statue of King Charles I and people who stayed still long enough to be in the photograph. The process of daguerreotypy was invented in Paris but quickly brought to London.

4) Two dogs—Tycho and Jim – are buried in the V&A’s John Madejski garden.

V&A garden plaques commemorating deaths of museum director's dogs
What do you think — is this dog burial funny, weird, or sweet?

Jim, a Yorkshire terrier, belonged to Sir Henry Cole, the V&A’s first director. Cole would often take Jim to work at the museum with him and loved him dearly enough to have an enamel model made of the scruffy little dog. Tycho belonged to Cole’s son, Alan. And yes, this is a bonus question for some of our THATMuse V&A hunts, sending teams to find the plaques directly to the right, if entering the beloved garden courtyard from the V&A’s cafe entrance.

5) Aside from being the V&A’s first director and an exuberant dog lover, Henry Cole is also credited with inventing the Christmas card in 1843 (see below).

Henry Cole clearly had some great design chops!

He commissioned a designer and a printer to create over a thousand cards that could then be personalized and sent to friends. Cole also made enough to sell, but they were expensive and deemed a commercial flop. But when Dicken’s novel “A Christmas Carol” was published, Christmas cards caught on. Yes, this trivia is in our Festivities hunt at the V&A — glad you read this post? (Read more here!)

6) The V&A was the first museum to create a public restaurant, which was originally called the “Refreshment Rooms.”

Henry Cole (he sure pops up a lot, doesn’t he?) managed the Great Exhibition in 1851 and saw that many visitors there enjoyed having a hot meal or tea while going about the exhibits. He brought the idea back when the V&A was opened so that guests could have a similar experience. However, the restaurant was described as “hideously ugly” and the original structure – which clashed horribly with the museum itself – was demolished 11 years after it was built.

7) The tallest object in the V&A is a plaster cast of Trajan’s Column, which stands 35.6 meters high!

cast of Trajan's Column at the V&A London

In fact, it is displayed as two separate towers because it is too tall to fit inside the gallery. The Cast Court (including Trajan’s Column,) was installed in the V&A to allow people too poor to travel see culturally important works of art.

8) The Great Bed of Ware (which comes up in our “Festive Feasting” treasure hunt!) is, arguably, Britain’s most famous bed.

The Bed of Ware is massive even by today’s standards — can you imagine what 1600’s Londoners must have thought?

It is over three metres wide and, according tolegend, can hold at least four couples. The bed was famous enough in its day that Shakespeare referenced it in his play Twelfth Night, and 14th century tourists came from all over to lay eyes on it. Evidence of their visits can be seen via the carved initials and wax seals on the bedposts and headboard.

9) Horses and carts take up a lot of space – which the V&A learned when packages and post were delivered to the V&A and the horse did not have enough room to maneuver and get back to the street.

To deal with this issue, the V&A built a large turn-table – the horse just had to stand there and the floor beneath it would just rotate! Talk about inventive.

10) If you’re standing in front of the V&A, look up – you’ll see a large, imposing statue standing atop the building’s central tower.

Statue of Fame atop the V&A
You can see Fame at the very top of this model, from the V&A’s website!

This figure is Fame – and she’s not as scary as she looks, especially since she’s missing her nose!