…my mother took me to the British Museum. The intimate coziness of a world in a book suddenly blew out into a mind-bending scale — the British Museum became our measure of greatness (“I love you *this many* British Museums full!”) and near-infinite possibility (I could dash between Ancient Egypt and 19th century France), if I wanted to). The roundness of British Library reading room became the ultimate symbol of curiosity fulfilled, reinforced decades later by spending not-quite-enough research time as a graduate student in the similarly circular Brotherton Library at the University of Leeds (http://www.cityofleeds.co.uk/images-of-leeds-2007-pp/source/brotherton-library2-leeds.html). The V&A was also magical, as was the Met (first throughThe Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, then in visits as a teen and as an adult)….
For the full “museums as muses” post (includes castles, libraries, knights, Yorkshire, and other a-muse-ments), slip over to http://arcary.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/the-muse-in-museums/