20 Feb 2009
I visited an exhibition at the British Library entitle Taking Liberties. It shows how British liberties were fought for an achieved. It starts out with the Magna Carta (1215) and talks how it is the foundation of so many other documents, such as the Mayflower Compact (learned in US History class) and the American Constitution. The exhibit also talks about Ireland, Scotland, and Wales and how they got to be what they are today via English history, how they fought for their liberties. It also discusses the fights for universal sufferage, the forming the welfare state, right to worship and freedom of speech.
I saw the death sentence of King Charles the First and the first signature is Oliver Cromwell. It is thought that he forced others to sign it too.
A thing I really enjoyed about the exhibit (other than being free) is that it had several interactive elements such as wrist bands and at each section you would have it scanned and vote on certain things. I finally got the guts to do one and it was on the National Health Service and my opinions on that. Then at the very end of the exhibition you can see where you rank among the other voters and such. Another interactive element is that at the end you can contribute to the event personally by writing a statement on a card and putting it up on the wall.
I was amazed at how similiar a lot of these things seemed because the US has gone through several of these things. Take women suffragist for instance. In both countries they were inprisoned and if they didn’t eat they were force fed.
Note: The exhibit does end 1 March 2009 and you are not allowed to take photographs. I understand that because there are documents in there well over 600 years old and you need to preserve them. Even at the National Archives in Washington DC it is very difficult to take photographs of our national documents, then again they’re behind special casing with special lighting, and special temperatures.
I’m really glad that my communications class has made me see this exhibit. Plus it gave me a good excuse to check out the British Library. AMAZING