Trip to the museum!

8 Oct

Prior to our group visit to the National Museum this past Friday; I had gone with friends to check out the museum a few days after we first arrived in Dublin. On that initial visit, I spent the majority of my time in the “Kingship and Sacrifice” exhibit, largely due to the fact that the bog bodies were so interesting to look at. I had never seen a dead body before, let alone ones that had been preserved by nature (the bogs) for so long.
On this second trip, though, I decided to dive further into the different, less immediately eye-catching exhibits. After walking around and looking at the multitude of artifacts, I decided to choose the clothing located on the upper level of the museum as my artifact(s) of interest. These pieces of clothing were discovered in a bog in County Sligo in the year 1824, and have since have been dated to the early 17th century. The preserving powers of bogs have helped to maintain the shape and structure of these pieces. There are several pieces of clothing on display, including a pair of thick looking trousers, a heavy cloak/cape, a long coat, and leather shoes. All of these items are a dark brownish color. I am unsure if this was the original hue of the pieces, or if they turned that shade after years and years of being submerged in a bog.
The size (especially the length) of these artifacts also shed light on the particular period of Irish history in which they were made—in that they provide evidence for the average stature of the typical early 17th century Irishman. In another section of the museum, I learned that men and women of this time period were generally shorter than modern people, due to nutritional differences. Men tended to be an average of 5 feet and 7 inches tall. The clothing presented in the displays provides evidence to this claim, as they were slightly smaller/shorter than average modern clothing.
I chose this group of objects because like the bodies that I found so immediately interesting, the clothing on display exists solely because of the powerful preserving qualities of nature. Prior to coming to the National Museum, I had absolutely no idea that anything in nature could do such a thing, and I find it absolutely amazing that so much of this expansive museum is only available for us to examine because of the terrain of Ireland.


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