Over spring break of 2011 Helicon, the undergraduate art history association, spent a week in London accompanied by Achim Timmermann, professor of medieval art history. Helicon’s annual spring break trip aims to give history of art students the opportunity to visit museums, historical sites, and view pieces of art work first hand. The chance to be guided by Professor Timmermann through the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Tate Modern as well as the historic naval buildings in Greenwich was a very memorable experience for everyone.
In the National Gallery, we saw works by artists such as Bosch, Michelangelo, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, and many others. Our travels also brought us to the Elgin Marbles housed in the British Museum, along with the Rosetta Stone and a plethora of ancient artifacts.
Professor Paul Crossley, from the Courtauld Institute of Art, led us on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Westminster Abbey. For many students this was the most impressive part of the trip, as we were able to see parts of one of London’s most historic buildings that most are never lucky enough to see. Architectural historian Dr. John Goodall accompanied the group through the Tower of London.
During free time, we travelled to Oxford University, Camden Market, Hyde Park, and the Globe Theater. At Oxford, we visited Christ Church and toured the more than 700-year-old campus. From the beautiful historical sites, to the stunning works of art, to the fish and chips, the trip was a wonderful experience. With the help of the U-M History of Art department, students with similar interests were able to share ideas through informal and museum settings. Works of art previously studied in classrooms came to life as we were guided by some of the world experts in the field. We are greatly indebted to the department for the generous support they gave us on our educational journey through England.