Cabinets of Curiosity: Discovering London's Little Museums with Dr. Alan Montgomery

Cabinets of Curiosity: Discovering London's Little Museums with Dr. Alan Montgomery


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Visitors to London often flock to its famous galleries and museums such as the Tate, the British Museum, and the National Gallery – but there is much more to the city than these large (and often crowded) institutions. London also has a wealth of smaller museums, quiet places that are off the beaten track. They may be less well known, but these atmospheric "cabinets of curiosity" are definitely worth a visit.

This seminar will focus on a selection of London’s little museums, recounting the history of their unique collections and highlighting some of their key exhibits. The district of Holborn contains several fascinating little museums, such as the Grant Museum of Zoology, a time-capsule of Victorian scholarship, its collection of specimens including a bizarre jar of moles. Nearby can be found the Petrie Museum, packed full of Egyptian antiquities, many of them excavated by the pioneering archaeologist William Flinders Petrie. The Freud Museum is housed in the world-renowned psychoanalyst’s former Hampstead home, while the Horniman Museum in South London is famous for its varied collection of natural history, which even contains the remains of a (supposedly) real merman.

Led by a historian and Context guide who has lived in London for over twenty-five years, this interactive seminar will explore a selection of London’s smaller museums, places that are often overlooked by both visitors and Londoners alike. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an insight in some of the city’s most fascinating hidden gems.

Alan Montgomery was born and raised in Scotland but has spent most of his adult life in London. Having achieved an MA in Art History at Glasgow University, he worked for many years in the art world at both an international auction house and an antique dealer. In recent years he has returned to academia, achieving an MA in Classical Civilisation in 2011, and has recently completed a Ph.D. in which he analyzed eighteenth-century attitudes towards the ancient Roman world. In addition to his work for Context Travel, Alan also writes catalog essays on Contemporary Art for a leading auctioneer. Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 2017, his first book, entitled 'Classical Caledonia', was published by Edinburgh University Press in August 2020.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
75%
(3)
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Cynthia Futter (Santa Monica, US)
So much fun!

This was such an interesting, and off the beaten path, tour. I very much enjoy Dr. Montgomery, and share many of his sensibilities about what makes sense and what doesn’t. Mermaids? These are museums I will absolutely visit the next time in London.

L
Linda Gutesha (Denver, US)
Fascinating and Delightful London museums

This was a very enjoyable conversation. It was my first one with Dr. Montgomery and I look forward to more of his seminars. He is clear and easy to understand. His passion for his subject is contagious and makes the seminar all the more delightful. Well done!

J
John (Washington, US)

Another excellent seminar hosted by Alan. This one was somewhat offbeat but Alan handled it with his usual aplomb and expertise.

J
Joyce Cohen (Oakland, US)
So Wonderful

I really liked this scope and introduction to less well known museums. The title "Cabinets of Curiosity" was fitting although I would have loved more background on the early cabinets of curiosity.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
75%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
25%
(1)
C
Cynthia Futter (Santa Monica, US)
So much fun!

This was such an interesting, and off the beaten path, tour. I very much enjoy Dr. Montgomery, and share many of his sensibilities about what makes sense and what doesn’t. Mermaids? These are museums I will absolutely visit the next time in London.

L
Linda Gutesha (Denver, US)
Fascinating and Delightful London museums

This was a very enjoyable conversation. It was my first one with Dr. Montgomery and I look forward to more of his seminars. He is clear and easy to understand. His passion for his subject is contagious and makes the seminar all the more delightful. Well done!

J
John (Washington, US)

Another excellent seminar hosted by Alan. This one was somewhat offbeat but Alan handled it with his usual aplomb and expertise.

J
Joyce Cohen (Oakland, US)
So Wonderful

I really liked this scope and introduction to less well known museums. The title "Cabinets of Curiosity" was fitting although I would have loved more background on the early cabinets of curiosity.