Visiting a historic house museum is about memorialising an experience, which could entertain you and feel like time travelling. Generally, a house museum is a house with an interesting history that has been converted into a museum.
I recently visited two attractive house museums, one in London and another one in Amsterdam, which had different and opposite atmospheres. The first one entertained me and made me laugh, while another one brought my eyes into tears.
The house at 221B Baker Street in London, well known amongst fans of crime-fiction books and mystery-adventure movies, portrayed the period between 1881-1904 when Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson lived in a Victorian lodging house, according to the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The house, built in 1815, is open as a museum to display the life and times of Sherlock Holmes.
When I walked through the Baker Street Tube station, I found the Sherlock Holmes’s logo everywhere, which directed me to the house. The famous green door is easy to find.
You can step back in time by walking inside the museum, because the interior has been maintained for visitors as described in the published stories. Also, the staffs are dressed up like people of that period.
You can enjoy a virtual tour exploring the world of Sherlock Holmes by walking through his bedroom, sitting on his armchair, putting his hat on and posing for photos.
I walked through various corridors and rooms which contained belongings, private papers and notes of Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Doctor Watson.
Same as other museum, unique souvenirs, gifts and books with the Sherlock Holmes logo are available in the museum shop on the way out, which let me take even more funny photos. But, this does not mean visiting all house museums would cheer you up and make you laugh. In other words, any house museum experience depends on the history behind it.
After visiting the Sherlock Holmes house, I traveled to Amsterdam and visited the Anne Frank’s house, where she and her family were hiding for 25 months from Nazi persecution during the Second World War.
Anne Frank is famous for the diary of her short life, which is one of the most widely read books in the world.
On her 13th birthday, two years before her death, she received an autograph book bound as a gift and started to write about her hidden life in the house. She died of typhus at the Nazi concentration camp. Her diary was published after her death and has been translated into 67 languages.
After being in a really long queue, I passed the narrow gate to buy the ticket when I saw a sign saying “no photography”. Inside the house there was not much light, even though outside was sunny, because all of the windows were completely covered. My first impressions after entering the house were loneliness, distress and grief.
The furniture of the house has been removed, while you will find the photos of Anne Frank and her family in different rooms.
In each room, there was a video or audio clip which introduced the pain of Anne to the visitors.
Visiting the Anne Frank house was an unique experience. By climbing the stairs, I could step back in time and feel fears of war. Each step into the house demonstrates that how war could take the dreams, desires, wishes of the teenager girl away.
At the end of this house museum’s visit, like any other museum, you would end up in the shop. Though, this shop was full of books of Anne Frank in various languages.
Anne Frank dreamed about being a good writer and she believed in herself and eventually she became a great writer. She is not alive, but her words are alive and are teaching us a lesson.
This article has been published on The News Hub