Our Sponsor Sideshow Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
**20FD - some thoughts on London's Science Museum LOTR exhibit

Greenwood Hobbit
Tol Eressea

Apr 26 2019, 7:55pm

Post #1 of 6 (1922 views)
**20FD - some thoughts on London's Science Museum LOTR exhibit Can't Post

It made a huge impression on me, so many things from the films to admire at close quarters and so much exquisite craftsmanship and detail. Hope my comments below bring back some memories for anyone who saw it.

LOTR Museum Exhibition
The entrance was dark, obscured by large posters, compared with the hall outside. From the shadows above hung down Elven banners, the White Tree of Gondor banner, the Rohan banner that ripped from the post when Eowyn was watching Aragorn’s arrival. They swayed slightly in the draught of all the movement below. The exhibition area was very dimly lit, all the lighting focussed on the exhibits to set them off to best advantage. Different lighting effects were projected down onto the floor in some areas; blue light through branches by Lorien exhibits, gold and brown patchy effect near the entrance, dappled light as through leafy trees, square grid effect by Moria display. This was very attractive and quite subtle. Throughout were placed panels of explanatory text and inset screens where people could watch short documentary excerpts – some from the dvd specials, some unique to the exhibition.
Costumes were displayed, beautifully illuminated behind curved glass screens set into the display panels, with a rear view also available from the other side of the panels.
The entrance area was dominated by the Dark Lord Sauron, towering ahead of visitors, spotlit with white and backlit with red, armour displaying incredible decorative detail not visible in the film.
Scale double Frodo (near mithril shirt, Sting, Red Book, Phial of Galadriel)
Arwen – Riding dress and requiem dress (near sword) graceful and wearable
Aragorn’s travelling outfit, looking authentically lived-in
Legolas (with bow, arrows, quiver, knives) simple and stylish
Theoden’s armour, incredibly finely detailed, with many horse motifs
Gandalf the Grey (real men do wear handbags…!) with Glamdring nearby
Saruman the White, (or slightly off-ivory, to be exact) with staff
Dwarf from Council of Elrond (Gimli’s costume being used in NZ)
Galadriel, beaded white dress, glittering slightly in the faint movements of air, lit in a Lorien-style pale aqua, and looking absolutely ethereal.
Elven, Rohirrim, Orc, Uruk-Hai and Southron armour and weapons
Ringwraith very dimly lit and oozing menace (with swords and crowns nearby)
Costume drawings, fabric swatches for Arwens’ outfit.
Neat touches like mud on the hems of robes and soles of boots.
Boromir laid to rest in the Elven boat was there, looking scarily realistic.
Models of all sizes were there; maquettes in ‘Super Sculptey’ of Treebeard, Uruk-Hai, Cave Troll; also an enormous Moria background with cave troll, and Moria Orc clinging to the wall. Lurtz snarled in all his menacing glory, red-lit and lurid. There was a bust of Treebeard, with incredibly lifelike eyes that seemed to look straight into your heart.
There was a cabinet of cluttered manuscripts from the library at Minas Tirith, and a collection of odds and ends from Orthanc, including the book open at the ‘shadow and flame’ page, and a Palantir in its own little case.
There was a short staff and a telescope from Rivendell, and a bigature of the mill at Hobbiton, with turning mill wheel, which was used in the ‘scouring’ sequence. Three months to make, three seconds on film.
Numerous weapons were on display. Apart from those mentioned above, there were the shards of Narsil, Uruk-Hai weapons, and Dwarf axes. There was a gruesome selection of what passed for ornamentation in the Orc and Uruk Hai style manual – teeth, bones, skulls, mercifully anonymous scraggy bits, etc. Harness and facepiece for the Ringwraith’s steed was on display too, as well as Theoden’s saddle. Three were rings – Narya, Nenya and Vilya, and the Ring of Barahir. The silver Elven circlets were beautiful and intricate, as well as belts, buckles etc. Three sizes of Elven brooch were displayed, coloured much more subtly than the ‘replicas’ sold by Noble etc. Galadriel’s brooch with its lustrous mother-of-pearl centre looked stunning.
Two sizes of the famous pan-laden Gamgee backpack were shown, as well as pottery mugs large and small, and strips of fabric in different scales for Frodo’s and Merry’s braces. There was also a selection of well-worn hobbit feet behind a glass panel (fortunately – hate to think what they’d have smelt like!) and an example of Sam’s ear.
Original drawings by Alan Lee and John Howe were on display as well, which were fine and delicate.
The One Ring was in its own circular enclosure, very dim, with flame border around the wall, and the inscription projected and roving round the area. The Ring itself was suspended in a glass column looking as if it was in mid-plummet into the Cracks of Doom. Snatches of speech, quotes about the Ring, were playing in the background.
The overall effect was of stunning attention to detail, carefully designed and applied even when it could not have been visible on screen, and tremendous love and pride in the work, allied to first class craftsmanship. There was a real feeling of history about the whole exhibition. The costumes and armour were breath-taking; but it’s hard to single out any one thing when it was all so impressive.


Apr 28 2019, 5:57pm

Post #2 of 6 (1880 views)
Wow, thank you for the memories. [In reply to] Can't Post

Until reading this, I had completely forgotten about the exhibition. What year was it? I must have been 13/14ish years old at the time, but, for some bizarre reason, I had forgotten how brilliant it was. Thank you for bringing back all these memories.

These are that details that I specifically remember:

There was a bust of Treebeard, with incredibly lifelike eyes that seemed to look straight into your heart.

Arwen – Riding dress and requiem dress (near sword) graceful and wearable

The entrance area was dominated by the Dark Lord Sauron, towering ahead of visitors, spotlit with white and backlit with red, armour displaying incredible decorative detail not visible in the film.

And this one, really made an impression on me at the time. Out of everything, it just looked so real. It really was Boromire laid to rest:

Boromir laid to rest in the Elven boat was there, looking scarily realistic.

There was also a photo opportunity (at the start) using some version of forced-perspective (or was it just a green screen?) so you and friend could sit on a wagon and recreate the scene through the Shire as Gandalf and Frodo.

(This post was edited by dernwyn on Apr 28 2019, 7:30pm)

Greenwood Hobbit
Tol Eressea

Apr 28 2019, 6:37pm

Post #3 of 6 (1870 views)
Oh Danielb, best laugh of the day! Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Did you see the typo in the last line of your post? Laugh Yes, Cheshire Cat and I did the 'sitting in the wagon' perspective photo opportunity - great fun. Glad you enjoyed the memories. It was a sensational exhibition. I can't remember which year it was, but I was still working (managed to visit it twice while in London for work purposes) so I think it would have been before summer 2004.


Apr 28 2019, 7:14pm

Post #4 of 6 (1865 views)
Oops! I'll get that typo fixed by a mod! [In reply to] Can't Post

In the last half hour, I have managed to dig out the photo of my sister and I on the wagon Cool

Yes, I seem to remember that the Orthanc statue was missing when I was there and I'm sure there was some sort of sign saying it was being used for filming. So it must've been, at least, before the extended edition of The Return of the King was released.

On a somewhat related note, did you manage to also see the LOTR musical in 2007/2008?

Greenwood Hobbit
Tol Eressea

Apr 29 2019, 2:21pm

Post #5 of 6 (1842 views)
Didn't see the musical, sadly [In reply to] Can't Post

though someone I worked with saw it and enjoyed it. I did however manage two visits to see/hear the music being performed live at the Royal Festival Hall, conducted by Howard Shore. That was quite something! Had my programme signed by the great man, too.


May 8 2019, 3:42am

Post #6 of 6 (1779 views)
Thank you so much for this [In reply to] Can't Post

I was able to visit this exhibit when it was in Indianapolis in 2005 along with a bunch of sib... Indy Moot! You have so much more detail of what was there than I remembered and the mood of the exhibit... which is just as important, imho. The low lighting not only created an ominous ambiance, it made it so much more intimate. Easier to block out the other people who were there. Just thinking about it here puts me right back there... moving through the different items and standing in front of those incredible costumes and props.

The way the Nazgul dagger was suspended above my head with the blade facing down in a Frodo POV, I remember how struck I was at the horror of that broken, pitted blade. It looked evil and violent. It still makes me shudder.

One of the most jarring props was Boromir lying in the Elven boat with that eerie glow beneath him, mud still on his boots and his hands folded on his chest holding his sword. Not to sound maudlin... I was shocked because he looked so much like my Dad who passed away in 1977 at 59yo.

I couldn't stop looking at Frodo's costume, the Red Book, phial.. I just love his green Shire cloak. The costumes were so intense for me. The detail, textures, beauty... just stunning. One of the things I found myself fixated on the most were Frodo's suspenders. The blend of different blue thread in a sort of herring bone pattern. They were beautiful and so delicate. Then to see them ragged from the Quest is so moving. And they were there next to Sam's pack. I could imagine them rattling with that unique mix of sounds that followed him like the tags on my dog's collar. That sound became a part of him.

There's an incredible sketch by Alan Lee of Bilbo sitting at a desk in the Rivendell Library that I just fell in love with. So much was there. I was overwhelmed being surrounded by what felt like magic to me.

In the 2 days we were there, I made it back to the exhibit as often as I could.

And I also made it to the LotR Musical when it was in Toronto in 2006. I loved it so much! It was incredible when gollum came out of an opening high on the wall to the left of the stage as if he was following Frodo and Sam. Being sneaky and spider-like as he crawled out onto the wall and then moved back in. So spooky! The same actors that play Frodo and Sam... and I believe gollum, too... were in the show you must have seen :)

Thank you for this. It's incredible to be back there again in my heart and memory :) *warm hug*


We have been there and back again.

TIME Google Calendar


Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.