Multi-lingual voices chattered around me as I walked through the doors, children exclaiming at the exhibits, the sound of cameras clicking all distracted me from the artefacts I had come to see. I found a space to the side of the room and closed my eyes, attempting to separate the external cacophony from the wonder of my thoughts.

This was a place that had been built two hundred years ago by people who had not the modern conveniences of machinery, yet they had created not only something that lasted but a building that was a pleasure to look at. Ornate stonework on the exterior and carved wood internally that decorated the shelving and wall panels. High ceilings embellished with painting and plasterwork made by master craftsmen. A beautiful room to house the ancient exhibits.
Opening my eyes they saw, not the tourists in shorts and t-shirts with cameras hanging around their necks and guide books in hand, but gentlemen in dress coats sedately walking around the room inspecting carefully each item on display. They gathered in groups talking animatedly about the provenance of a relic, sat in the high backed chairs at the edge of the room reading books that explained the wonders brought back by intrepid travellers. One sat before a statue intent on bringing the image to life on paper, carefully copying each curve and shadow.

All too soon the peace dissipated as the sounds of modern society crowded back into my brain. Yet I was left with a lingering sense of the years that seperated myself from those men, time but not a thirst for learning and wondering about the distant country which is the past.