Thursday, July 23, 2009

Experiencing the National Museum (Dublin)

While in Ireland, we also went to see the archaeological exhibition in the National Museum in Dublin. It is a very different experience to go through a museum with a three-year old. I had dreaded it beforehand, imagining a mad rush through the halls, but it turned out to be fun. It was like seeing the same old flint pieces and brooches from a new perspective - even literally. Something I had never realized before, the cases are too high for a small child to properly see inside. No wonder kids tend to get bored. So I carried Son piggyback around the exhibition and he showed a surprisingly long attention span when I explained him what the items were and what they were used for.

The first thing Son wanted to see in the museum were the mummies in the small Egyptian exhibition. When he saw the first one I could feel him trembling, whether with fright or excitement I could not tell. The other very interesting exhibits were the model of a passage grave - although to his disappointment there was no entry to this one - the replica of a Viking boat, and a real Viking Age skeleton. We also saw the bog bodies, which I found rather gruesome, but Son just looked at them in silent contemplation. Leaving out the gory details of human sacrifice I explained to him that these people were buried in bogs. Our son considered asked me several times why, and when no acceptable explanation was forthcoming, he answered himself: "Maybe they did not have sand."

Afterwards we have had many a hard discussion about what happens after people die. Son has expressed his wish to become a skeleton and requested that after death he will be mummified. He was very offended when I tried to explain that we don't practise mummification and insisted on it. He also made a little sarcophagus out of modelling clay spread on top of a small bottle. I had to make him a skeleton, and he very carefully pressed the eye sockets and mouth to the skull.

It is nice to have a shared interest, but I hope he will grow out of it and make a career in plumbing or something sensible like that.

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