British Museum

British Museum A museum of the world, for the world. Discover over two million years of human history and culture.
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A museum of the world, for the world. Discover over two million years of human history and culture. The collections from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the ancient world include world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.

In 2018 our conservators undertook the painstaking task of treating this 18th-century Tahitian mourner’s costume. The co...
26/04/2020

In 2018 our conservators undertook the painstaking task of treating this 18th-century Tahitian mourner’s costume.

The costume is made up of many different materials including barkcloth, feathers, pearl shell and coconut shell. During the months-long treatment, they uncovered some interesting finds and worked with curators, scientists and natural history specialists to learn more about this fascinating object.

Go behind the scenes and follow the process in our conservator’s blog: http://ow.ly/zfZp30qzUyF

Thousands of steel nails were assembled and hand-forged by artist Mori Junko to resemble petals in this breath-taking sc...
25/04/2020

Thousands of steel nails were assembled and hand-forged by artist Mori Junko to resemble petals in this breath-taking sculpture.

The artist is reinventing the traditions of Japanese metalwork from her studio in North Wales, after training both in Japan and the UK, and this piece is her response to the Great Earthquake that struck Japan in 2011.

Find out more about the artist and her work here: http://ow.ly/Ilk530qzNzi

🐧 In 1860, English art critic John Ruskin wrote ‘One can’t be angry when one looks at a Penguin’.Ruskin regularly visite...
25/04/2020

🐧 In 1860, English art critic John Ruskin wrote ‘One can’t be angry when one looks at a Penguin’.

Ruskin regularly visited the Museum to look at the penguins in the collection whenever he was in a bad mood, claiming they provided ‘the only comfort in life’! http://ow.ly/gspo30qyke2 #WorldPenguinDay

The Great Shrine of Amaravati was one of the most important Buddhist sites in India, founded around 200 BC.  Room 33a ho...
24/04/2020

The Great Shrine of Amaravati was one of the most important Buddhist sites in India, founded around 200 BC.

Room 33a houses some of the sculptures from the site in south east India, including this beautiful example. Carved around the first century BC, it shows a group of men worshipping under the Bodhi Tree at the spot where the Buddha received enlightenment.

Explore the gallery for yourself on Google Street View here: http://ow.ly/YQPg30qzNzm

Find out more about The Asahi Shimbun Gallery on our website: http://ow.ly/KAsQ30qzADy #MuseumFromHome

Room 27 was designed with archaeologists in Mexico, and has a vaulted roof and deep red walls evoking the monumental arc...
24/04/2020

Room 27 was designed with archaeologists in Mexico, and has a vaulted roof and deep red walls evoking the monumental architecture of Mesoamerica.

Take a virtual tour of the gallery on Google Street View here: http://ow.ly/Mo3k30qzyqa

Find more gallery facts, timelines and highlight objects on our website: http://ow.ly/zKqE30qzyt2

#Ramadan – the 9th month of the Islamic calendar – begins today. This time of fasting, spiritual reflection and increase...
23/04/2020

#Ramadan – the 9th month of the Islamic calendar – begins today. This time of fasting, spiritual reflection and increased prayer is celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

During Ramadan many Muslims hang decorative lanterns, known as ‘fanoos’, to celebrate the holy month – the tradition is believed to have begun in 10th-century Cairo and is associated with the symbolism of light as guidance.

This enamelled glass lamp was made to illuminate a mosque or shrine, and bears a decorative inscription from the ‘Light verse’ of the Qur’an http://ow.ly/xeIr30qzvXP

William Shakespeare was likely born #onthisday in 1564 – and died on the same day in 1616. What’s your favourite Shakesp...
23/04/2020

William Shakespeare was likely born #onthisday in 1564 – and died on the same day in 1616.

What’s your favourite Shakespeare play?

This portrait is thought to be one of the earliest depictions of the Bard, although it was unlikely that engraver Martin Droeshout ever saw Shakespeare in person. It was commissioned for the First Folio by John Hemmings and Henry Condell who were part of the King’s Players, Shakespeare’s acting company http://ow.ly/YLsC30ovAgs

This beautiful wall painting from Pompeii shows a woman playing a kithara – a stringed instrument related to the lyre🎼 Y...
22/04/2020

This beautiful wall painting from Pompeii shows a woman playing a kithara – a stringed instrument related to the lyre🎼

You can find out more about Roman music through objects in the collection on our website – we have a broad range of free learning resources covering ages 3–16+. Excite inquisitive minds and teach them how Egyptian mummies were made, or learn about what the Romans ate and drank – then try out a recipe for honeyed bread together: http://ow.ly/g7Yn30qzxV3

Discover 10 more ways you can explore the Museum from home here: http://ow.ly/l0Ph30qzy01

Käthe Kollwitz combined technical mastery with deeply emotional and political subject matter to create some of the most ...
22/04/2020

Käthe Kollwitz combined technical mastery with deeply emotional and political subject matter to create some of the most powerful and haunting artwork of her time.

The influential artist died #onthisday 1945.

Browse her works – and search for more by your favourite artists – using our Collection online. Get close to the Museum’s collection wherever you are: http://ow.ly/Vc1230qyEUU

According to legend, Romulus founded the city of Rome #onthisday in 753 BC. This Roman Republican coin shows Romulus and...
21/04/2020

According to legend, Romulus founded the city of Rome #onthisday in 753 BC.

This Roman Republican coin shows Romulus and his twin brother Remus, the mythological sons of Mars, being suckled by a she-wolf http://ow.ly/2bPE30qy04l

While we’re stuck inside, we’ve been exploring the natural world through the collection and look what we spotted 🦜🦉🕊🐦🦅Th...
19/04/2020

While we’re stuck inside, we’ve been exploring the natural world through the collection and look what we spotted 🦜🦉🕊🐦🦅

These woodblock prints were all made by world-renowned Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai in the 1830s. They show wagtails in wisteria, warblers perched on roses and sparrows soaring over hibiscus flowers 🌸

Do you have a favourite bird?

Leonardo da Vinci was born #onthisday in 1452. This detailed drawing uses a highly skilled technique called silverpoint,...
15/04/2020

Leonardo da Vinci was born #onthisday in 1452.

This detailed drawing uses a highly skilled technique called silverpoint, which uses a fine metal stylus to render the image – mistakes are very hard to correct.

The medium was popular in the Early Renaissance, and many young artists were trained in the technique as it required control, discipline and patience.

Look closely and you’ll discover all sorts of fine detail in this masterful work.

14/04/2020
Celtic art in the Witham Shield

Can you spot winged water birds, hidden horses and a beautifully disguised boar in the Witham Shield?

Join curator Julia Farley as she decodes her favourite object at the Museum, and reveals animals concealed in Celtic art.

Drawing can be so much more than just pencil on paper.These works feature in our touring exhibition (opening again soon!...
14/04/2020

Drawing can be so much more than just pencil on paper.

These works feature in our touring exhibition (opening again soon!), which has been co-curated with partnership galleries in Durham, Swansea, Stromness and Barnsley.

Discover 10 contemporary drawings from the show and read how the artform has been radically redefined over the last 50 years in our curator’s blog: http://ow.ly/ODkA30qw1DJ

Let us know which drawing is your favourite in the comments below ✏

🏔🏕🏜 Need a change of scenery? Lose yourself in 13 delightful landscapes in this blog: http://ow.ly/JtLP30qxLxe This phot...
14/04/2020

🏔🏕🏜 Need a change of scenery? Lose yourself in 13 delightful landscapes in this blog: http://ow.ly/JtLP30qxLxe

This photograph shows a piece of in-situ rock art from Twyfelfontein in Namibia. The engravings depict animals including giraffes, elephants and rhinoceros.

Image © TARA/David Coulson.

Happy 150th birthday to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, who were founded #onthisday in 1870 🎂 🎁🎉  We can't wai...
13/04/2020

Happy 150th birthday to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, who were founded #onthisday in 1870 🎂 🎁🎉 We can't wait until they open their doors again!

This colour lithograph was made by artist Robert Kipniss in 1989, and shows the Metropolitan Museum of Art through the trees of Central Park http://ow.ly/UTho30qvZIS #Met150

13/04/2020
Explore the Museum from home

🏛 Discover the 11 ways you can #MuseumFromHome in our blog post: http://ow.ly/vgiV30qxhsn

We’ve got all kinds of things you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home – virtual galleries, curators’ audio introductions, a behind-the-scenes podcast, learning resources for kids, new videos and much more. Follow the link above to start your virtual visit.

🎥 on Google Street View

Tune into BBC Radio 4 this week to hear former Museum Director Neil MacGregor narrate ‘A History of the World in 100 obj...
13/04/2020

Tune into BBC Radio 4 this week to hear former Museum Director Neil MacGregor narrate ‘A History of the World in 100 objects’ every weekday at 13.45 BST.

First up is the mummy of Hornedjitef – an Egyptian priest who lived over a thousand years after Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great, at a time when Egypt was ruled by Greek kings.

The re-broadcast is part of the BBC’s ‘Culture in Quarantine’ series. Find out more here: http://ow.ly/mIPY30qvZU2

Happy #Easter! 💐These hungry bunnies were drawn by author and illustrator Beatrix Potter for her 1909 book ‘The Tale of ...
12/04/2020

Happy #Easter! 💐

These hungry bunnies were drawn by author and illustrator Beatrix Potter for her 1909 book ‘The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies’ 🐰

Here the young rabbits are nibbling on lettuce in Mr Macgregor’s garden and, according to the story, the lettuce had a very soporific effect – they all fell asleep on a newly mown lawn.

Who’s your favourite Beatrix Potter character?

See more of Potter’s beautiful bunnies here: http://ow.ly/kdBi30quMqp

🌞 What can you see out your window? 🎨 You don’t need to go outside to be inspired – this view was painted by American ar...
11/04/2020

🌞 What can you see out your window?

🎨 You don’t need to go outside to be inspired – this view was painted by American artist John Singer Sargent in Genoa, Italy http://ow.ly/hzxu30qx6nG

Today we invite you on a virtual version of our Early Morning Explorers events – early sensory friendly visits. Join us ...
11/04/2020

Today we invite you on a virtual version of our Early Morning Explorers events – early sensory friendly visits.

Join us for a selection of activities you can do at home inspired by ancient Greece, including diving into the mythical story of Odysseus with a storytelling session using props you can find at home. Or how about making your own sensory box to help bring the underwater world of the Nereids to life!

Get crafty, be creative and explore your senses – find all our accessible resources here: http://ow.ly/U8Mn30qwzrK

Generously supported by the Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation

🐱 Happy #Caturday! 🐱Curled up into a tight ball, this snoozing kitty netsuke was made around 200 years ago in Japan 🐈At ...
11/04/2020

🐱 Happy #Caturday! 🐱

Curled up into a tight ball, this snoozing kitty netsuke was made around 200 years ago in Japan 🐈

At just 4cm tall this fuzzy feline would have been used as a toggle to attach personal belongings to a traditional Japanese kimono, which didn’t have any pockets.

Will you be catnapping with any furry friends this weekend?

Explore colour, pattern and shapes through the Museum’s collection with our free learning resources for 3–6 year olds 🎨W...
10/04/2020

Explore colour, pattern and shapes through the Museum’s collection with our free learning resources for 3–6 year olds 🎨

With objects specially chosen for younger students, use our image banks to discover how people around the world have decorated their possessions, from thousands of years ago to today: http://ow.ly/BwiJ30quw4C

We have a broad range of learning resources on our website, catering for ages 3–16+ and covering a wide range of curriculum topics, including History, Art and Design and RE – explore more here: http://ow.ly/Bchm30quxNQ

‘For me, the Yaxchilan Maya lintels proved to be a gateway into a world I knew nothing about. I joined the Museum as a t...
09/04/2020

‘For me, the Yaxchilan Maya lintels proved to be a gateway into a world I knew nothing about. I joined the Museum as a technician in 1983, straight from a building site, so my knowledge of museums was limited. Find an object that sparks something in you, learn about it, and go where it takes you.’

David Noden is Collection Manager for Loans and Display, and his inspirational object is this stunning Maya lintel.

Which objects have inspired you?

Discover other inspiring stories and powerful objects picked by staff in our blog: http://ow.ly/9pVd30qwwln

Today we’re sharing some objects picked by our staff for their inspirational stories ✨Eleanor Ghey is Curator of Early I...
09/04/2020

Today we’re sharing some objects picked by our staff for their inspirational stories ✨

Eleanor Ghey is Curator of Early Iron Age and Roman Coin Hoards, and has picked this small silver figurine (shown in the centre of this picture). It depicts Senuna, a previously unrecorded deity and was found in a hoard of gold and silver plaques and jewellery in 2002, in south east England.

Eleanor says: ‘Senuna inspires me in the knowledge that there is always more to discover about our past.’

Read more staff picks in our blog, and perhaps find some objects that might inspire you too: http://ow.ly/9pVd30qwwln

What inspirational stories have you discovered in museums or galleries? Has inspiration struck while taking in an object...
09/04/2020

What inspirational stories have you discovered in museums or galleries? Has inspiration struck while taking in an object or artwork?

We asked our staff what their inspiring stories and powerful objects were – the Gayer-Anderson cat was Director Hartwig Fischer’s choice.

He says: ‘When walking through the deserted galleries just before leaving, sunlight directed me towards this bronze cat, an avatar of the Egyptian goddess Bastet, donated to a temple by a wealthy worshipper. It has traversed millennia; sitting motionless it holds the past, awaits the future – I felt that it was there to guide us silently to another epoque, full of promises and new directions.’

See more staff picks, discover objects you might have missed, and read some inspiring stories here: http://ow.ly/9pVd30qwwln

“I’ve never forgotten the excitement of that first close encounter with the distant past” In our latest blog post, new T...
08/04/2020

“I’ve never forgotten the excitement of that first close encounter with the distant past”

In our latest blog post, new Trustee Mary Beard introduces you to her top five objects in the collection and reveals a moment in the Museum that started her journey to becoming Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge.

Read Mary’s blog here: http://ow.ly/J82b30qwn4a

Have you been inspired by objects you've visited in museums or galleries? Do you have a favourite object with an inspirational story? Share them with us ⬇

Stay tuned tomorrow – we’ll be sharing inspirational objects and stories picked by staff ✨

📸 Mary Beard. Lion TV and Brave New Media.

Did you know you can get expert insights into the collection with our audio introductions? Listen to our curators as the...
08/04/2020

Did you know you can get expert insights into the collection with our audio introductions?

Listen to our curators as they guide you through over 60 galleries – available on Apple Music: http://ow.ly/cswq30quZG0 and Google Play: http://ow.ly/psJe30quZGh

Listen to the track for Room 27 to hear Dr Jago Cooper, Curator of the Americas, transporting us back to ancient Mexico through the objects on display.

You can also listen in Korean, Chinese, Italian and Spanish 🎧

Image description: Double headed bright blue serpent mosaic made from turquoise and shell.

Colour in your own underwater world with ocean blues, sea greens or whatever colours you like! 🖌🎨These beautiful picture...
07/04/2020

Colour in your own underwater world with ocean blues, sea greens or whatever colours you like! 🖌🎨

These beautiful pictures show the Nereids – sea nymphs in Greek mythology who helped to guide sailors on their voyages 🧜‍♀️

Save your favourite colouring sheet and start getting creative🖍

The Nereids also give their name to the Nereid Monument – the largest of the Lycian tombs from Xanthos, south west Turkey. The monumental tomb is housed in Room 17, which you can visit here http://ow.ly/5Pzo30quuOs

07/04/2020
Ravi Shankar's sitar

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of master sitar player Ravi Shankar 🎶

He brought Indian music to the western world in the 20th century – influencing musical genres from jazz to classical, and famously collaborating with the Beatles.

In 2017, Shankar’s family donated the sitar to the Museum, and before it went on display his daughter Anoushka played one of her father’s compositions on it.

What’s your favourite Ravi Shankar song? #Shankar100

Today marks the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death.This cartoon was made for his painting 'Vision of a Knight', now in...
06/04/2020

Today marks the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death.
This cartoon was made for his painting 'Vision of a Knight', now in the National Gallery

The small holes around the outline were made so the drawing could be transferred onto the painting surface in a method known as ‘pouncing’. The artist would prick holes around the drawing, place it over the second surface and dust powder, such as chalk or charcoal, through the holes to leave a dotted outline.

Find more of Raphael’s work on our Collection online database: http://ow.ly/aObd30qu8co

Image description: a young man drawn in pen and ink sleeps on the ground between two female figures, with a landscape behind them.

06/04/2020
Conserving Dürer’s Triumphal Arch

Albrecht Dürer’s ‘Triumphal Arch’ is one of the largest prints ever made, measuring nearly 3 metres tall.

The German artist, who died #onthisday in 1528, used 36 large sheets of paper and 195 different woodblocks to make the monumental artwork.

Follow the complex and time-consuming conservation process involved in caring for this 500-year-old artwork here: http://ow.ly/x1WI30qu5nY

Find out more about Dürer’s colossal print, and its painstaking conservation treatment in our series of blog posts: http://ow.ly/gPDQ30qu5p5

05/04/2020
Chinese Ceramics – Sir Percival David Collection

With over 1,700 examples of Chinese ceramics on display, Room 95 is one of the most breathtaking spaces in the Museum.

Spanning more than 17 centuries of Chinese industry and art, the ceramics on display range from unique pieces made for the imperial court to mass-produced objects. The Sir Joseph Hotung Centre for Ceramic Studies opened in 2009, and houses pieces from the Sir Percival David Collection.

Explore the space on Google Street View: http://ow.ly/Ycsf30q1CA9

🏛🎧 If you’re looking for new ways to #MuseumFromHome, listen to our podcast – available on all streaming platforms. Join...
04/04/2020

🏛🎧 If you’re looking for new ways to #MuseumFromHome, listen to our podcast – available on all streaming platforms.

Join presenters Sushma Jansari and Hugo Chapman as they take you behind the scenes at the Museum – recent adventures include learning about mysterious ‘mummy goo’, discovering the perils of poison arrows in the collection and going on a trip to the Museum’s own X-ray lab: http://ow.ly/5dk030qt7Nt

Astrolabes were the computers of their time, able to help solve complex problems involving the position of the sun, star...
03/04/2020

Astrolabes were the computers of their time, able to help solve complex problems involving the position of the sun, stars and planets, as well as aiding timekeeping.

In the 10th century, one astronomer claimed there were around 1,000 applications for an astrolabe! This beautiful example was made in the 13th century in Cairo. It is signed ‘Abd al-Karim al-Asturlabi’ (‘the Astrolabist’).

It’s a hefty example – at 46cm tall with intricate decoration, it probably wasn’t intended for practical use. Astrolabes were particularly important in medieval Islamic culture as they provided a two-dimensional map of the heavens and helped find the direction of Mecca. They were also used to determine the times of prayer.

Find out how these amazing objects work in this blog: http://ow.ly/WcLh30qtl6h

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Great Russell St
London
WC1B 3DG

Tube: Five minutes from Holborn, Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road, and Goodge Street stations. Bus stops on New Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, Gower Street and Southampton Row are a short walk away. Plan your journey on the Transport for London website www.tfl.gov.uk

General information

To find out about our current and forthcoming special exhibitions, visit http://ow.ly/Pny6R To view current job vacancies, visit http://ow.ly/PnyaO Large luggage and wheeled suitcases are not allowed on British Museum premises. Please check our visiting page for more information before your visit http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting.aspx THE MUSEUM LOVES TO HEAR FROM YOU Here's a quick note on commenting This page is an open forum where anyone is welcome to contribute. Discussion is encouraged, but please be aware that any offensive, defamatory, obscene or harassing comments or personal attacks of any kind will be removed. Spamming, repeat submissions of the same (or very similar) contributions or content that is off-topic may also be removed. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] See our full code of conduct for social media here: http://ow.ly/FnAqg

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