From Londonhua WIKI

Dakota Payette

Dakota Payette


My aims for the project over in London are to complete the entire humanities and arts requirement for graduation. I want to finish my two breadth classes and my capstone project while in London. My prior experiences in humanities and arts while at WPI is finishing my depth in history. I've taken three history classes here and plan on doing my capstone in history. My major takeaways from the experience are the traveling to London since it will be my first time overseas.

Milestone 1

Architecture Project 1
Objective: Comparing the architecture of the Apollo Victorian and Theatre Royal, Durry Lane Theaters

Upon completing this milestone and looking back on it, it was definitely a fun milestone to complete. I love going to see musicals, so being able to see two completely types of musicals while doing this milestone was awesome. I wasn't expecting Theatre Royal at Drury Lane to be as upscale as it was. There were a lot of people in the lower and expensive seats that were dressed up in suits and dresses. Overall, it was a really fun experience to watch the two plays in London. I could barely hear any English accents from the two shows. The performers played their roles perfectly.
There was great contrast between the architecture of the two theaters which was what I was really looking for in finding these two theaters to compare. The history behind the two theaters is also very stark in their contrast. Apollo Victoria almost closed down before being completely renovated, while Theatre Royal had been torn or burnt down multiple times in its history. Apollo Victoria is also much more family and kid friendly than Theatre Royal is, and it's these small but huge difference is what made this milestone so much fun to complete. To read more about this milestone in depth, click here.

Milestone 2

Architecture Project 2
Objective: Comparison of Normal and Victorian architecture and lifestyle through photos and historical stories.

Once completing this milestone and looking back on it, it was definitely a fun project to work on. I had a lot of good travel experience going out and traveling to Peterborough, Ely, and Winchester to visit the three cathedrals I need for this project. Ely Cathedral and the Octagon Tower blew my mind away with its beauty and architectural advances there were made in order to keep the Octagon Tower from falling, unlike its predecessor, the Norman Tower. Looking back at the history of the cathedrals was really interesting also to see that the Normans weren't the first ones to build abbeys on those sites, for most of them have had religious buildings there for many decades.
Looking through the change from Norman to Victorian was definitely interesting. The change from a feudal society to a much more modern one was what I expected with comparing the lifestyles. The social classes hadn't changed much between the two which wasn't a shocker. The monarch was at the top of both societies and the hard working and labor intense class was both at the bottom. In between was the average everyday worker or knight in the Norman society. Overall, it was a fun and exciting experience to travel and look at some of the really old and architectural importance of the island. To look more in depth about this milestone, click here.

Milestone 3

History Capstone Timeline
Objective: Timeline of the important changes made to the monarchy during the creation of the Commonwealth and how that's affected King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

From having reached this milestone, it's impressive to look in depth at the lives and reigns of the past two monarchs that have ruled England. These two monarchs have ruled England for almost the entire 20th century and beyond. Their lives are complicated and interesting, dealing with an abdication crisis at the start of the reign, getting the people behind the creation of the Commonwealth, and wrestling with politics to keep one member country of the Commonwealth alive. The dissolution of the Empire and creation of the Commonwealth changed how monarchs rule. King George VI was the first monarch to be impacted by the change will Queen Elizabeth had to forge a new path when taking over as Queen is 1953.
For me, this project does represent my humanities and arts capstone in history. I wanted to put my best foot forward with this milestone since it is my capstone project. I had planned this to be my milestone from the very beginning and wanted it to be my best. To read more about this milestone and its findings, click here.

Activity Journal

The activity journal represents an ongoing log of reflections gained through each and every project activity on the calendar.

Activity #1: Westminster Abbey

Being able to view Westminster Abbey this morning was amazing. One of my milestone aims is comparing the different styles of architecture in the city, so looking at all the crypts and sculpting in Westminster Abbey really helped kick start my knowledge and comparison of the different architectures in the city. Some of the takeaways from Westminster Abbey was how crowded it was in there, but that is expected when going to a huge tourist attraction in the middle of the city. The Westminster Abbey page does exist on here, and an interesting reflection about the trip to Westminster Abbey was how caring they were towards Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his time as President of the United States. Together, he and Winston Churchill powered through the dark days of World War II and emerged victorious. Without the support of FRD, Britain might not stand here today. It's interesting to see how far a country is willing to go to help their allies, and the United States did that by entering into the war on Great Britain's side.

Activity #2 Natural History Museum

Today, our group traveled to the Natural History Museum in Kensington, London. I’ve always loved visiting museums and seeing all the many types of exhibits on display. This was a different museum than the ones I’ve been to in the past because it was more related to natural history, something that I haven’t seen before. The only part of the museum that is related to milestones was the architecture of the building on the outside. Even though there was a wide range of different exhibits in the museum, none of them could relate to any of my milestones. The experience of walking through the museum wasn’t really that impacting towards my milestones. My milestones don’t relate to natural history, but it was really interesting to see the human body exhibit. I took an anatomy class back in high school and seeing all the interesting facts about the human body and how it works rekindled all the fun memories from that anatomy class. The part I remember most about the class was the human senses, so being able to go through all the interactive exhibits on the human senses really fascinated me.

Activity #3 National Gallery

Today, our group traveled to The National Gallery to go look at some paintings. We decided as a group that the best way to do this to conserve time was to split up and take pictures of paintings and painters that the other group hadn't done yet. While looking through the paintings, one painter caught my attention: Giovanni Antonio Canal. Canal, also known as Canaletto, was a painter who mostly used oil on canvas to paint magnificent scenes of the Venetian landscape. The canals were filled with gondolas and many people dressed for the times. Even though it was fun to come into The National Gallery to look at the paintings, it really didn't have any impact on any of my milestones. The architecture of the building is wonderful and caught my eye immediately.

Activity #4 British Museum

Today, our group traveled to the British Museum. The entire museum is absolutely stunning. History of basically everything interests me a lot, so being able to see a lot of historical things today was absolutely amazing. I loved being able to see parts of the Greek Parthenon since ancient Greek history and the Greek gods and goddess is my all time favorite part of history. Seeing the Rosetta Stone was also pretty amazing since they used that to decode the ancient Egyptian language. While looking at the map of all the galleries at the beginning, I had hoped that more of the museum would have related to my different milestones, but it sadly didn't. I had marked down the 1800-1900 Europe gallery as one that I could hopefully pull some Victorian style architecture out of, but it was mostly just jewelry and households items from around Europe. I also went into the Greek and Roman living style galleries to look in there. They had some fascinating artifacts in there that I loved seeing, but sadly none of them could relate to my milestone. Overall, it was an amazing museum to go to and visit. My camera sadly died half way through the museum, so I'm planning on going back there one day to finish taking the pictures that I missed. I also want to go back to look at the Greek vases exhibit. It was closed off when I went with my group and we were disappointed about that.

Activity #5 St. Paul's Cathedral

Today, our group went to St. Paul's Cathedral and it was amazing. I'm not religious at all, but the cathedral was amazing. The architecture of the building fascinates me. Throughout the history of the cathedral, many greats have been inside the cathedral and it was cool to be a part of that history by going into the cathedral. Being able to climb the stairs to the whispering gallery was the best part about going to the cathedral today. Looking down from the whispering gallery gave an amazing view of the entire cathedral. I walked the entire way around the whispering gallery and I stopped to align myself with the length of the cathedral. It was so cool to see the length of the four sections of the cathedral from high up in the whispering gallery. It would have bee really nice to see the original cathedral since it had Norman architectural aspects of it and that is part of my milestone. It was a wonderful experience going to St. Paul's Cathedral today.

Activity #6 Tate Modern

Today, our group went to Tate Modern. I am not a fan of modern art at all. To me, it is like someone randomly put piece of material together that have no purpose whatsoever. The photos that I saw were random photos and described life in Soviet Russia. The only theme to those photos was that they all included the color red, saying that the Red of Soviet could be seen from all over Russia. There is just no complexity to it at all. Modern art has absolutely nothing to do with either of my three milestones. It was honestly a boring experience to visit the museum today. Modern art is nothing like the art in history.

Activity #7 Museum of London

Today, our group went to the Museum of London and it was pretty interesting. I've always like museums that go through history, so being able to literally walk through the history of London and see all of its changes was pretty cool. It was a nice and relaxing walk through the history of London. The part that I really enjoyed was the walk through the streets of London during the Victorian Era. It was really interesting to read about and see what the city would have looked like. The different shops that they had lined up in the street were amazing. Bring able to walk into a few of them and hear the sounds playing in the background of what it sounded like to walk through the streets made it feel very lifelike. The Victorian gallery does relate to one of my milestones because it involves Victorian style architecture. Though I'm not involved with learning about the lifestyle of British subjects during the Victorian Era, seeing how they lived and in what conditions helps for my milestone.

Activity #8 Tate Britain

Today, our group went to Tate Britain and it was not the best. Our group doesn't like going to see art galleries, so this was very boring today. It doesn't make sense as to how people can actually pay to go visit modern art. To me, some of these works looks like a five year threw paint onto a canvas and called it art. This place has nothing to do with any of my milestones since they either relate to architecture and history, not art in anyway.

Activity #9 Victoria and Albert Museum

Today, our group went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and it was one of the best activities we went to so far. Even though may of the exhibits were already covered in the wiki page dedicated to the museum, it was still very a very interesting museum to go to. I went upstairs to the fourth floor to go see the architecture exhibit and that was pretty cool to see. I had taken drafting classes back in high school for three years and learned a lot about the architecture of homes and of different buildings. It was interesting to remember all the different things I learned back in high school and see them implemented in the exhibit. This exhibit does somewhat involves my milestones since they involve architecture.

Activity #10 Horniman Museum

Today, our group went to the Horniman Museum. It was actually quite interesting to visit this place because it is very far away from the center of the city that we are used to being in. Our bus ride took us out of the city and into the far edges of the city. The museum is actually half a museum and half a park with beautiful gardens. The park and gardens are a wonderful takeaway from the city and puts my mind at ease. The museum itself was kind of disappointing because two of the four different exhibits they offered needed a paid ticket to get into. The other two exhibits, a natural history gallery and a music gallery were pretty cool. I’m really into music and different instruments so seeing all the old instruments that were played for royalty were really cool to see. Overall, however, this museum had nothing to do with my milestone.

Activity #11 Hampton Court Palace

Today, our group went to the Hampton Court Palace and it was really interesting. The palace reminded me of the Tower of London with all of its history, and that was cool. Walking through the gardens was also really interesting since they surround the entire palace. Knowing that royalty used to walk through these halls and gardens makes it feel really special knowing that I'm seeing a part of history. The coolest part of the walk through was seeing the old kitchen in the palace. They had a real fire going in the huge fireplace and fake food to represent what the kitchen would have looked like while preparing food for the royals. Even though this palace was really interesting to walk through, it still has very little relevance to any of my milestones. It was a cool and interesting experience, however, to take the train out of the city to here and be able to walk through the halls of English royalty and history.

Activity #12 Museum of London Docklands

Today, our group went to the Museum of London Docklands. Back home, I live right on the water, so seeing all the cool and interesting stuff about docking lands, ports, and sea warehouses was really interesting. My favorite part of the museum was seeing the sailor life exhibit and being able to see what life was like for the sailors back then. Even though this museum was really interesting, it doesn't relate at all to any of my milestones.

Activity #13 Imperial War Museum

Today, our group went to the Imperial War Museum and that was a really cool and interesting museum to look at. When we first walked through the gates, we were greeted by a huge war cannon that more or likely was on a destroyer ship at some point in its history. Walking through the front doors of the museum was really cool too because of all the hanging planes from the ceiling. The First and Second World War exhibits were really interesting since it took you through England's side of history, something that we don't see often while studying about the wars in America. The most interesting exhibit there was the war on terror exhibit on the fourth floor of the museum. It was really interesting to see how prisoners in Gitmo live their lives in one of the world's most intensive prisons. It was also sad to see the letters from their children and that the guards had to black out some of what their children had wrote. I really wish that I was doing a milestone on war history, but I'm not, so sadly this museum doesn't have much to do with any of my milestones. I would come back to this museum another day however since it was really interesting to visit.

Activity #14 Science Museum

Today, our group went to the London Science Museum. The Science Museum was actually pretty interesting. Our group, including myself, were thinking that this was gonna like the science museums we have back home. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with this museum, but it was still actually pretty interesting. I'm very sad that the robot exhibit was a ticket event that needed money to get into it. My major is robotic engineering and I'm sad that I wasn't able to get into that exhibit. I would have loved to see it, but I'm not gonna pay money for it. I wish that I was working on milestones that relate to this museum, but I sadly aren't. Overall, it was an really cool museum and I would definitely visit it again.

Activity #15 Wallace Collection

Today, our group went to the The Wallace Collection, and it was very, very boring. The only interesting thing about the place was the armory in the back of the house. Other than that, this was a very boring place to finish with. I don't really care for any art, old or modern, but this was just too much. I've seen too many museums and art galleries to take notice of the different paintings, busts, and furniture at this place. It all just looks the same to me. This place has absolutely nothing to do with any of my milestones because since I'm not doing anything relating to art, furniture, or medieval styles of armor and war.

Activity #16 Stonehenge, Bath, and Lacock Village

Traveling out into the English countryside to visit these amazing historical places was absolutely amazing. I've always been fascinated with the history about Stonehenge and the ancient spiritual and religious aspect of the sacred site. It's amazing to see what humans could do all the way back then with the simple basic tools they had. It looks as if it's impossible to get those stones upright and locked in place with the intricate locking mechanism with the different stones. And since the wheel hadn't been invented at all, it's an amazing accomplishment that the people back then were able to transport the rocks from wherever they came from to the sacred site. This has nothing to do with my milestones, but I wish I had done a milestone that dived into the history of Stonehenge because there is just so much history and unknowns about the site.
Bath, England was also an amazing place to visit. It's amazing that the town had been used by the Romans over 2,000 years ago when they had occupied the English countryside. All of England is filled with rich history that is waiting to be undiscovered by travelers and natives. We sadly don't have much of that back in the US, and when we do, we don't care too much for it which is sad. I wish we explored and cared more about the history of North America and how the Native American tribes first started settling on the land instead of the Europeans coming in and destroying most of the native tribes.

Activity #17 Windsor Castle

Traveling out to Windsor Castle today was fun. It was a good little side trip to take, but not this late in the trip. It looked very similar to how Hampton Court Palace was, and that was definitely interesting, but seeing it again for the second time, it's starting to get kind of repetitive. Seeing the place where the Queen and a lot of the other monarchs have lived is definitely really cool. Overall, kind of annoying to be taking this half day trip and getting up early with only two weeks left in the trip. It's crunch time with getting the milestones done, and I want to be devoting all the time I have left into finishing these milestones.

Activity #18 Evensong at Westminster Abbey

To give us a break from working, we went out on Tuesday afternoon, June 20th, to Westminster Abbey for Evensong. I'm not religious at all, so sitting through the Gospel readings was a little painful for me since I'm not used to it and don't believe in it at all. On the bright side, listening to the choir sing was really nice, even if I couldn't understand when they were singing in a different language. It was also really hot that day, so being inside the cool and shady abbey was a really nice break from being in the hot sunlight. It was an cool experience going into the Abbey again and being able to listen to the beautiful choir and see the delicate artwork of the abbey.

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