Monday, 7 July 2014

Mortimer Wheeler House

     Right in the middle of a sketchy neighborhood you will find the Mortimer Wheeler House. Most people do not know what is inside the building at 46 Eagle Wharf Road. It is probably a good thing that people do not know, for security reasons.
      Mortimer Wheeler House houses (see what I did there?) the London Archaeological Archives & Research Centre (LAARC), Social and Working History Collection, and the Museum of London Archaeology. All three of the sections are owned and operated by the Museum of London. My tour guide for the day was Dan Nesbitt, the assistant curator; he is pictured below.
     Dan led us around the various areas of the Mortimer Wheeler House describing all of the functions of the different departments. He explained how the Museum of London handles the archaeological digs all around London. Most of the relics are found during construction of new buildings in the city. We were able to see firsthand the process the artifacts go through once they arrive at the Mortimer Wheeler House. After the pieces are processed, they are stored on site. The pieces are stored in special boxes to ensure longevity of the items. The boxes are labeled and placed on shelves. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized the Museum of London Archaeological Archive as the largest archaeological archive in the world. People can request to see objects after searching the online catalog for research purposes but most make an appointment.

These are crates from digs that need to be processed. 

     The picture on the right shows boxes of human skeleton pieces. There are around 17,00 skeletons or bits of skeletons stored in the building. The picture on the left shows the climate controlled archive storage. 

     The most interesting part of the tour for me was being able to look through the stalls that hold the social and working history collections. The Museum of London tries to own one of everything. I know that sounds funny, but it is the best way to describe the collection. The stalls contain all types of collections of materials. 



This is a royal urinal (don't ask me why I thought it was cool). The picture above was the switchboard for the Queen's phone calls. You can still the various names of people the Queen would call.







This is a boot from Shakespearean times...perhaps it was his?















As you can see, we had the opportunity to see really cool items at Mortimer Wheeler House. I would definitely advise the feeling of jealousy to be arising within you at this very moment. We even got to see something that I can't talk about on here or I would have to kill you...sorry, I couldn't resist.

Here is a link to LAARC's page on the Museum of London website:
LAARC




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