From the story of one of Rome’s most infamous emperors, to the assassination of Thomas Becket, see what special exhibitions are coming up in our 2021 programme.
27 November 2020
20 November 2020
Arctic exhibition curator Jago Cooper reflects on the profound impact of climate change on Arctic Peoples and their way of life and what we can learn at this crucial time for the future of our planet.
20 October 2020
As we prepare to open the Citi exhibition Arctic: culture and climate, Organics Conservator Sophie Louise Rowe talks us through how she went about conserving two bags made of an unusual material.
23 September 2020
Tantra transformed South Asia’s major religions, and today elements of it can still be found across Asia’s diverse cultures. However, it remains largely misunderstood in the West, where it is usually equated with sex.
2 April 2020
Drawing can be so much more than just pencil on paper. Curator Isabel Seligman takes a look at the dynamic drawings in our touring exhibition, and explains the creative process behind an exhibition co-curated with partnership galleries.
20 March 2020
Over thousands of years, Arctic Peoples have survived and thrived in the extreme climate of the Arctic. Here are 10 essentials you’d need to live in the most northerly place in the world.
11 February 2020
Single-use and disposable objects are not a recent phenomenon, but the environmental impact of modern-day single-use items is huge. Kayte McSweeney and Julia Farley examine two disposable cups made 3,500 years apart that are on display in our current free exhibition, and take a look at what the Museum is doing to reduce its environmental impact.
23 January 2020
As we announce Tantra: enlightenment to revolution, exhibition curator Imma Ramos explains how this radical South Asian philosophy has been opening up new ways of seeing the world for 1,500 years.
22 January 2020
The Iliad and the Odyssey are two of the world’s most famous poems but very little is known about their creator, ‘Homer’. Historian and writer Daisy Dunn goes in search of the poet of the Trojan War, exploring who Homer was and whether he ever actually existed.
9 January 2020
You might have a picture in your mind of the Arctic – with its vast icy landscapes and plentiful wildlife – but where actually is the Arctic and what cultures live there? Amber Lincoln, curator of the forthcoming Citi exhibition Arctic: culture and climate, reveals what life is like in the most northerly place in the world.
28 December 2019
Discover how the assassination of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1170 changed the course of history…
23 December 2019
Discover how Islamic design and technique prompted Western artists and craftspeople to create imitations or variations of the originals they encountered, and the impact this had on Western art and design.
19 December 2019
Co-curators Julia Farley and Kayte McSweeney explore how rubbish has enabled archaeologists to better understand the lives of people living in ancient Britain, and consider what our own rubbish will say about us.
17 December 2019
The myth of Troy has been told and retold throughout history and Hollywood hasn’t been immune to its lure. Here Honorary Research Fellow Lesley Fitton reveals her behind-the-scenes experience of working on the 2004 epic, Troy.
22 November 2019
The ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Odyssey’ on the surface are stories of men. However, female characters are central to the conflict and its devastating aftermath. Here Natalie Haynes, author of ‘A Thousand Ships’, explores some of the stories of the women and goddesses from the myth of Troy.
5 November 2019
Trustee of the Albukhary Foundation, Sharifah Zarah Albukhary discusses why the collaboration between two museums half way across the globe is so important in presenting the connections between East and West.
23 October 2019
Tim Clark details some of the fascinating objects and stories that are on show in our free displays on the historic region of Nara in west-central Japan
15 October 2019
The Greek hero Achilles is one of the most famous figures in Greek myth and a key character in the Trojan War. Discover the story of this hero, from his infamous anger to his ‘Achilles heel’.
9 October 2019
Curator Julia Tugwell takes a closer look at the art movement of Orientalism, and the way in which North Africa and the Middle East were often represented as lands of beauty and intrigue by Western artists.
19 September 2019
Curator Alexandra Green takes a look at the life and collections of Sir Stamford Raffles, highlighting his collecting practices in Southeast Asia and his contested legacy.
16 August 2019
Author Helen McCarthy discusses how Tezuka Osamu helped to drive the manga revival and the development of the Japanese comic into a global phenomenon.
2 August 2019
The way the Museum collects today is incredibly varied – sometimes objects enter the collection directly, in other instances they have passed through different owners, sometimes over a long period of time, before finally coming to the Museum. This blog looks at six key objects from the Collecting histories trail and charts their journey to the Museum.
24 July 2019
Our current major exhibition explores Japanese manga and the variety of stories they tell. But storytelling through art is nothing new. Humans have long used pictures to communicate their greatest tales. Here we discover the stories told through nine different objects from around the world and throughout human history.
16 July 2019
Our newly announced special autumn exhibition looks at how artists and craftspeople from Europe and North America were inspired by – and represented – the Islamic world, especially the Middle East and North Africa. Exhibition co-curators Julia Tugwell and Olivia Threlkeld discuss how these artistic traditions and connections continue to stretch across the world and connect cultures.
15 July 2019
Rembrandt is one of the most well-known artists in the world, equally adept at rendering sensitive portraits as producing show-stopping compositions. Curator Olenka Horbatsch explains what made the artist such a good storyteller and takes a closer look at the details in his work you might have missed.
18 June 2019
You may have heard of the city of Troy, the Trojan War, the wooden horse, and Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. But there’s much more to the ancient myth of Troy. Here’s our summary of one of the greatest tales ever told.
18 June 2019
The myth of the Trojan War has captivated people for thousands of years and has led pilgrims, explorers and archaeologists to search for the location where the famed conflict took place. But did the city really exist? In anticipation of our major autumn exhibition, curators Lesley Fitton and Alexandra Villing explore the reality behind the myth.
3 June 2019
As we open the Citi exhibition Mangaマンガ, exhibition curator Nicole Rousmaniere explores eight very different genres of manga, from boys’ love to adventure and explains why there’s a manga for everyone…
31 May 2019
In 2018, conservators, curators and scientists had the challenge of preparing an imposing Tahitian mourning costume for display and long-term preservation. Head of Organic Conservation Monique Pullan talks you through the lengthy process
10 May 2019
Tim Clark discusses the origins of manga, and debates whether Hokusai could actually be said to be the father of modern day manga…
7 May 2019
Artists have subverted the common postcard for decades. Discover both the politics and playfulness of a unique collection of postcards recently gifted to the British Museum by the artists’ postcard expert Jeremy Cooper.
5 March 2019
It is art’s most haunting and iconic face. A universal symbol of anxiety. It even has its own emoji. Discover more about the fascinating story behind The Scream, and maybe a few things you didn’t know.
1 February 2019
With its exquisite palaces, vast libraries and lush gardens, Nineveh was one of the most important cities of the ancient world. Carine Harmand explores the 19th-century quest to locate and unearth the great lost city…
28 January 2019
This year the British Museum will present the largest exhibition of manga ever held outside of Japan but what exactly is Manga, when did it originate and how do you read it? Exhibition Curator Nicole Rousmaniere tells you what you need to know about the Japanese phenomenon that has taken the world by storm.
18 January 2019
Co-founder of the Pussyhat Project, Jayna Zweiman, talks about how the Pussyhat escalated from an object of protest to a cultural icon and symbol of women’s rights.
9 January 2019
Exhibition co-curator Tom Hockenhull has created an original playlist of songs that challenge, question and mock the status quo – and rightly take their place alongside the dissenting objects in the Citi exhibition I object: Ian Hislop’s search for dissent.
8 January 2019
In our upcoming spring exhibition, we lift the veil on one of the most remarkable artists and printmakers of a generation – the Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch. He was the creator of art’s most iconic face – but who was the artist behind The Scream?
4 January 2019
Delve into this great king’s world with Curator Gareth Brereton as he lifts the lid on the ancient sport of royal lion hunting.
1 January 2019
From manga to Munch, the myths of Troy to the realities of feeding the world, see what’s coming up in our 2019 exhibitions programme!
5 December 2018
Modern manga is a global phenomenon, but its roots stretch back further than you might imagine. Ryōko Matsuba and Alfred Haft introduce the history of the genre in 12 key works.
25 October 2018
Ashurbanipal’s Library is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made. But what actually is it? Jonathan Taylor, Middle East Curator and expert on the Library of Ashurbanipal, takes a closer look…
4 October 2018
King Ashurbanipal might have been a fearsome warrior but he was also a keen gardener! We take a look at how the Assyrian kings created a slice of paradise on earth with their exotic botanical gardens.
17 September 2018
The Private Eye editor talks about a handful of favourite objects from his new exhibition.
4 July 2018
Bénédicte Garnier, Musée Rodin, Paris, shares her passion for an unexpected aspect of Rodin’s art, rarely shown during his lifetime.
19 June 2018
In advance of our major autumn exhibition, curator Gareth Brereton gives a run down of what you need to know about the Assyrians, from luxury palaces and lion hunting to libraries and letters.
19 June 2018
Warrior. Scholar. Empire builder. King slayer. Lion hunter. Librarian. Take a closer look at the great Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.
23 May 2018
Conservator Kasia Weglowska takes a closer look at ancient colour recently discovered on the Parthenon sculptures, some of which feature in our current Rodin exhibition.
16 May 2018
Ahead of the Citi exhibition I object: Ian Hislop’s search for dissent, co-curators Tom Hockenhull and Ian Hislop take a look at a few of the fascinating stories of dissent that can be found in the show.
16 May 2018
For our new exhibition we’ve invited historian and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop to rummage through the Museum’s collection on a mission to investigate stories of satire and subversion…
16 April 2018
As the British Museum’s music festival Europe and the world: a symphony of cultures opens, Simon Broughton looks at how and why music is played across the world and has been for centuries.
29 March 2018
A new exhibition focuses on the lives and work of three extraordinary men. Here, the curators provide a background to this fascinating story of art and friendship in post-war Greece.
16 March 2018
Oungan (Vodou priest) and ethnomusicologist Gerdès Fleurant and Caribbean historian Kate Ramsey tell us more about a Vodou drum, on display now for the first time, in Room 3.
13 March 2018
Professor of Anthropology and artist Gina Athena Ulysse reflects on her new commission by the Museum to respond to the current Asahi Shimbun Display A revolutionary legacy: Haiti and Toussaint Louverture.
12 March 2018
Professor Charles Forsdick introduces the history of the Haitian Revolution, and discusses visual images of its leader, Toussaint Louverture, including the centrepiece of a new free display.
6 March 2018
For two weeks this April, the British Museum will become a stage for music, with performances taking inspiration from around the world.
17 January 2018
What it is like to hear voices that no-one else can? What does it mean? Professor Charles Fernyhough discusses the life of Margery Kempe, an English mystic who documented her experience with inner voices 600 years ago, and how her experiences can help to refine psychological and neuroscientific accounts of hallucinations.
11 January 2018
In our new exhibition, find out how sculptures can complement one another, despite being created centuries apart.
4 January 2018
Scientists Colin Blakemore and Tom McLeish examine how the cognitive impetus that drove the emergence of science might be considered to be the same impetus that fostered religion and other metaphysical beliefs.
2 December 2017
Bioarchaeologist Eileen Murphy explains how examining the human remains from burials can help us to understand more about the Scythians.
17 November 2017
To celebrate our special exhibition Rodin and the art of ancient Greece, here are 10 things you might not know about the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin.
31 October 2017
Cultural anthropologist Veronica Strang, Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Durham, reveals the widespread role of water serpent beings in religious belief and ritual across the world.
27 October 2017
Historian and author Tom Holland explains why the Museum’s latest exhibition is a revelation, bringing the Scythians alive from the pages of Herodotus.
10 October 2017
Exhibition Curator Jill Cook provides a short introduction to some of the highlights of the exhibition Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond.
4 October 2017
Project Curator Chloe Leighton is given full rein to reveal how important horses were to the Scythians’ way of life.
27 September 2017
Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow takes us behind the scenes of the Museum’s latest exhibition.
14 September 2017
Curator St John Simpson gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of some of the many steps that go into producing a major exhibition on a large scale.
5 September 2017
Sarah Jaffray, Project Officer for the Bridget Riley Art Foundation, talks about how drawing is enjoying a renaissance among art students, in part thanks to the Museum’s fascinating collection.
23 August 2017
Curator St John Simpson takes a closer look at Scythian burial mounds and how they reveal what these nomadic warriors believed about the afterlife.
11 August 2017
The Great Shrine of Amaravati was one of the most important Buddhist monuments in the world. Curator Imma Ramos explains the long history of this sacred site, and how we’re using new technology to help people find out about the people who funded its construction.
26 July 2017
Angus Lockyer discusses the impact on modern art of Katsushika Hokusai – an artist whose work effortlessly moved between seen and unseen worlds.
12 July 2017
If you’re excited about another fantastical series of Game of Thrones, you’re not alone. But George R R Martin’s vivid world has many real-life parallels. Here, take a closer look at the inspiration behind the bloodthirsty, horse-riding nomadic warriors, the Dothraki…
5 July 2017
Laura Phillips, Head of Community Partnerships at the Museum, writes on the importance of institutions being bold with their LGBTQ histories, and why that can sometimes be a nerve-racking experience.
18 June 2017
Julie Nelson Davis discusses the remarkable relationship between Hokusai and his daughter Katsushika Ōi, an accomplished artist in her own right who supported and worked as Hokusai’s collaborator during the final two decades of his life.
15 June 2017
Japanese woodblock prints in the 18th and 19th centuries were often produced using inks which can fade dramatically when exposed to light. Scientist Capucine Korenberg explains how she investigated the risks of displaying some of Hokusai’s most iconic prints.
10 June 2017
Traditional Japanese woodblock prints are renowned for their exquisite detail and colour. Curator Alfred Haft reveals how the skilled block cutter and printer helped to create these beautiful works of popular art.
2 June 2017
A new film, the first documentary in English on Hokusai, brings the works of Japan’s greatest artist to the big screen across the UK and Ireland on Sunday 4 June. Director Patricia Wheatley discusses Hokusai’s lasting influence, and how 8K technology has provided greater insight into his immortal skill.
30 May 2017
We’re assuming you probably don’t know very much about the Scythians. But that’s OK! Ahead of our major exhibition opening in September 2017 we’ve compiled a handy beginner’s guide to these nomadic warriors, who galloped into the pages of history…
30 May 2017
Curator of the BP exhibition Scythians: ancient warriors of Siberia St John Simpson takes a closer look at some of the intriguing objects in the show – beautiful and exquisite, unusual and unexpected, but above all light and portable…
17 May 2017
Desire, love, identity is a small exhibition that draws selectively from across the breadth of the Museum’s vast collection to highlight LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) histories that have until recently been overlooked or underrepresented in museums and galleries.
10 May 2017
People are living longer than ever before and society is constantly reevaluating what it means to be ‘old’. Exhibition Curator Tim Clark reveals why Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave focuses on the last 30 years of the artist’s extraordinarily long life.
5 May 2017
What is a print? How do artists create multiple versions of their works? What does lithography actually mean? Well, wonder no more as we take you through three techniques of getting print onto paper!
25 April 2017
Take a closer look at one of the most famous artworks in the world. The Great Wave was created in 1831 but has had a remarkable influence on art ever since. Here are some key facts you might not know about this iconic masterpiece.
6 April 2017
2017 has been a busy year for the Prints and Drawing Department with two exhibitions recently opened at the British Museum. Conservation Mounter David Giles discusses the conservation preparations for these two very different exhibitions.
4 April 2017
When archaeologists found what looked like a collection of footprints on a beach at Happisburgh (pronounced Haze-borough) in Norfolk, they were unaware they’d discovered tracks of early humans that were a million years old.
9 March 2017
The exhibition The American Dream: pop to the present is now open. Why is this extraordinary collection of modern and contemporary art at the British Museum?
22 February 2017
Famous for far longer than 15 minutes, a lot has been said about Andy Warhol already. But whether you’re an art novice or a world expert, you might just learn something new about ‘the Pope of pop art’.
13 February 2017
Author, playwright and self-confessed Baby Boomer Bonnie Greer takes a personal look at five of the works featured in the Museum’s exhibition on American prints from 1960 to the present. From Andy Warhol to Kara Walker, what does a nation’s art say about the state of its politics and its identity?
27 January 2017
In 1991, to mark the end of apartheid, BMW invited Esther Mahlangu to make a work of art for their Art Car project. Her work, with its brightly coloured geometric shapes, draws on the traditional house-painting designs of Ndebele people in South Africa.
19 January 2017
Presenting 100,000 years of history through art was always going to be an immense challenge. Here, the co-curators of the current exhibition South Africa: the art of a nation give their personal insight into the thinking behind this ambitious project.
10 January 2017
The new special exhibition for 2017, Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave (25 May – 13 August 2017), explores the work of Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), considered by many to be Japan’s greatest artist.
9 January 2017
The elephant-headed Ganesha is one of the most popular Hindu gods – the creator and remover of obstacles. Celebrating Ganesha is a Spotlight tour by the British Museum – as part of the tour a 13th schist sculpture of Ganesha will be touring six venues across the UK. In this blog post Antonia Harland-Lang interviewed members of the Oxford Hindu Temple and Community Centre Project about what it meant for an 800-year-old statue of Ganesha to travel to Oxford from the British Museum, and their experiences of being involved in the project.
5 December 2016
Maggi Hambling talks to Hugo Chapman, Keeper of Prints and Drawings, about her exhibition ‘Touch: works on paper’ at the British Museum – a retrospective of Hambling’s prints and drawings, many of which have never been exhibited before.
11 March 2016
Artist and designer Heidi Hinder together with the Citi Money Gallery Education Manager, Mieka Harris, and the Curator of the Citi Money Gallery, Ben Alsop recently led a workshop with a group of young people from the New Horizon Youth Centre as part of the Citi Money Gallery Education Programme. In the first workshop they explored the far-reaching significance of money.
3 February 2016
2015 saw the ten-year anniversary of the Asahi Shimbun Displays at the British Museum. In this blog post Laura Purseglove and David Francis engage in a critical dialogue about the Asahi Shimbun Displays and the relationship to trends within museological and cultural theory.
4 January 2016
The exhibition Egypt: faith after the pharaohs, examines religious identity in the first millennium AD, when Egypt became first a majority Christian population and later, Muslim. Today, Egyptian Christians, or Copts, are a significant minority. The extraordinary collections of the British Museum allow us to explore religious identities in Egypt up to the present, here through contemporary photography.
28 October 2014
Art historian Frances Carey looks at the life of German artist Käthe Kollwitz and the inspiration behind some of her works. A selection of Käthe Kollwitz’s works will be on display in the exhibition Germany: memories of a nation running 16 October 2014 – 25 January 2015.
13 October 2014
Joachim Whaley discusses the longest lived political system in German history, the Holy Roman Empire from its origin in Charlemagne’s Frankish realm to its destruction by Napoleon.
16 April 2014
Although Viking graves took certain standardised forms – in the detail of the rituals it was clear that almost every funeral was different giving the deceased a personalised send-off. Neil Price looks at the complexity of one particular burial site at Kaupang, Norway.
7 March 2014
Gareth Williams is working on the BP exhibition Vikings: life and legend, the largest Viking exhibition in the UK for over 30 years. In this blog Gareth discuses what we can expect from the exhibition along with the challenges of incorporating a 37 metre-long Viking ship into the new Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery.
28 February 2014
Tom Williams explains how objects in the new exhibition, the BP exhibition Vikings: life and legend indicate that the Vikings were working their way up and down the river systems of Russia and Ukraine more than a thousand years ago.
7 May 2013
In this blog, Vanessa Baldwin introduces us to the city of Herculaneum, often overshadowed by the city of Pompeii and explains why Herculaneum is just as important as its famous neighbour.
22 May 2012
A free exhibition, opening on 24 May 2012 at the British Museum will celebrate the epic story of the horse – a journey of 5,000 years that has revolutionised human history. Nigel Tallis gives us a preview of what to expect.