THATMuse

Sir Hans Sloane

Bust of Sir Hans Sloane, 1737
by Michael Rysbrack (British Museum)

This lovely gentleman right here is Sir Hans Sloane, whose collection is the basis of the British Museum. A physician and collector, Sloane amassed a huge array of scientific and historic artifacts — an impressive 71,000 books, manuscripts, natural specimens and “things relating to the customs of ancient times” which became the foundation of the museum.  Sloane started off his collecting spree by gathering natural specimens, many of which he got on an adventure in 1687 to Jamaica. During his time there, he amassed over 800 plants and other … Read More

THATD’Or Photos: Part 2

Station Clock
the station clock is in part so iconic to the Musee d’Orsay because it’s one of the few designated spots where photography’s allowed

Station Clock
those couches are so funny, once in they’re hard to get out!

This post will continue what I started in the last blog post – to linger over just which shots would be must suitable. If anyone has a preference I’d be grateful for any inputs or votes. For instance – do you think we’d like a napping lady to fill one of these seats?

Gare d'Orsay
I’ve certainly felt comfy enough there to take a quick snooze!

Museum … Read More

Quirky Kid Fun in Bloomsbury

The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travelling in Paris & London category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.

Following a morning or afternoon on a THATMuse treasure hunt at the British Museum you may want to go scouting for off-the-beaten track treasures in blooming Bloomsbury, the museum’s intellectual (& green!) neighborhood. Mother of two and founder of THATMuse, … Read More

THATd’Or Photos: Part 1

Recently my attention has taken a handful of dips south of the Seine to the lovely Musée d’Orsay. Recently we did the soft launch of THATd’Or (Treasure Hunt at the Musée d’Orsay, of course!) in conjunction with the AFMO (American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay), but it’s taken me an age to unroll the THATd’Or website and business plan. With this in mind I’m going to do a number of photographic posts, because after shooting rolls and rolls of film the editing process is – as usual – the hardest part.

Musee d'Orsay

And Black + White aside, would most people know what building this was … Read More

A Brief Look at the Egyptian Middle Kingdom

Following our post on the Old Kingdom, we’re now turning our attention to the Middle Kingdom (and yes, you guessed it, the next will be about the New Kingdom). 

The beginning of the Middle Kingdom (after a hiatus of turmoil and strife over a succession struggle) was messy and did not immediately follow the Old Kingdom. There were two factions vying to control all of Egypt with the 11th Dynasty of Thebes controlling the Southern part and the 10th Dynasty from Herakleopolis ruling the north. Eventually the Middle Kingdom started when Mentuhotep II, of the northern Thebes, won control … Read More

Everything You’d Want to Know About the Egyptian Old Kingdom

Hey there! This is the first of a series of blog posts about the different kingdoms of ancient Egypt, by yours truly, Cheyenne, student intern at THATMuse. We’ll start with the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the first of the Kingdom periods.

First, it’s important to realize that the periods commonly recognized as the Kingdoms were first distinguished by 18th century historians, and these distinctions would not have been used by the Ancient Egyptians themselves. Specifically, the ‘Kingdoms’ refer to high points in the lower Nile Valley civilization. Some historians disagree on when exactly these periods began and ended, but there … Read More

The Standard of Ur

Continuing off our last post about Queen Puabi’s grave in the Royal Tombs of Ur, Mesopotamia is known as the “Cradle of Civilisation” because of things like their invention of the wheel. What would life be like right now if we didn’t have the wheel? In some of our Kid-Friendly THATBrits we dole out some extra THATMuse points (bonus points embedded in text so to be sure hunters stay alert to our precious text!) by asking them to scribble some things we could not do without the wheel, just to be sure they pause to see its significance.

Archeologist Sir … Read More

Mesopotamia’s Glorious Great Death Pit

Archeologist Sir Leonard Woolley made a tremendous discovery in 1922-32 when he uncovered the Royal Tombs in the Mesopotamian city of Ur (today’s Southern Iraq). This fantastic find is referred to as “the Great Death Pit”. As well it should! His excavation team unearthed 1800 graves, 16 of which had such treasures that Woolley titled them “royal tombs”, all dating from 2800-2370 BC. Below the simple graves of the common people lay the elite of Ur. Although commoners also made it to that lower level, as some of this Sumerian royalty were accompanied in the afterlife with their attendants!

Among … Read More

Musée de l’Oranger

Musée de l’Orangerie
Musée de l’Orangerie, photo by Lilian Lau, of http://www.lilianlau.com/

Now that’s a great photo, no? Lilian Lau is a jack of many trades: from a post-doc science researcher to a wonderful travel writer (links to a sampling are below). After first meeting her at last January’s THATd’Or (created in conjunction with the AFMO), Lilian generously put me in touch with Camille Breton, of Science Académie, for whom I built the Arts + Sciences hunt. Since then we’ve been having lovely lingering lunches between her globetrotting flights. Here she picks up on the Museum Musings (which I had initially intended Read More

Messalina: More Sour Grapes

Part of the reason the Julio-Claudian family is tricky to follow is because of all of the interconnected (read: incest!) relationships. Roman Empress Valeria Messalina, known as just Messalina (12 – 48 AD), was the third wife to Emperor Claudius; a cripple with a stutter. 10 years his junior, she was cousin to her husband Claudius, as well as cousin to his predecessor, Emperor Caligula, as well as paternal cousin to Emperor Nero (to follow Claudius, and to be his step-son — as well as… you guessed it, cousin!). Lastly (to be listed, as the connections go on and on!) … Read More

Beautiful Beauties Hint

The Three Graces

Roman copy of Greek 2nd Century BC Statue
Marble, H 1.19m (3ft, 10in) x W 85 cm (33 in)

The Graces, according to Seneca, stand for the 3-fold aspect of generosity the giving, receiving and returning of gifts of benefits. Three daughters of Zeus, some identified them as Beauty, Charm and Joy. Many myths had them presiding over banquets and gatherings, primarily to entertain and delight Zeus’s guests.  These are a Roman copy from the Imperial era (approximately 2nd Century AD), after a Hellenistic original from the 2nd Century BC. Nicolas Cordier (1565 – 1612) restored them in … Read More

Spain’s Span Across Europe


Diego Velazquez, 1634 Medici Gardens in Rome, at the Prado, taken from Wikipedia

The Prado, like the Louvre, takes a bit of context. It is a Royal Collection, and the royalty in Spain was; Well, full of stories, to say the least. The Spanish had an enormous empire, but two provinces of supreme artistic value were Naples and the Lowlands (they had the Spanish Netherlands from 1579 – 1713 – roughly corresponding to Belgium and Luxembourg).

In 1700 the mentally infirm Hapsburg King Charles II of Spain named Louis XIV’s second grandson, Philip (Duc d’Anjou), as his heir. At 16, … Read More