Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Terracotta Warriors in England
When Jon and I were in England recently, we visited the Dorchester Terracotta Warriors museum.
Dorchester is a small town in southwestern England not too far from the English Channel. Originally, we'd planned to see the English Channel on a day trip to Dover for the last day of our train pass. But that morning, I'd been looking something else up in our guidebook's index, and saw the listing for the Terracotta Warriors museum. Being Sinophiles, we decided to go there instead. We got to Waterloo train station at 9:33 a.m. A train, headed in the right direction, was scheduled to leave at 9:35 a.m. Somehow we made it through the ticket gate and to the platform. We hopped on the first available car, with the doors closing behind Jon who got on after me. We were on our way!
At the time we got on the train, we figured we'd have to take the train to Weynouth, then backtrack, but fortunately the train stopped at South Dorchester. The museum is about a 20-minute walk from the train station, but it took us longer because we didn't know where we were going and we ended up going the long way. Plus, many people we asked directions of had never heard of the museum. The warriors museum shares space with a teddy bear museum, so if we were to go again, I think I'd ask for directions to that instead.
The museum is small, but quite educational. I've been to see the real thing twice in Xi'an, but managed to learn some new things about the warriors in Dorchester. The information is very well presented, with tableaus, warrior replicas, a short film and photos. Museum officials don't permit photography inside, so you'll have to settle for seeing a photo of the terracotta warriors on my first trip to Xi'an in 1997.
It takes less than an hour to see the holdings, so this makes the admission fee expensive in terms of what's there. If you're in Xi'an, you can see the real thing for about the same price. Jon has never been to Xi'an before, but wants to go the next time we go to China.
I've written an article about the musseum for Suite101.com. You can read it here.