Gaverne Bennett’s highlight objects: African kingdoms timeline
29 October 2021

Explore our new African kingdoms timeline with Gaverne Bennett, who has selected a range of fascinating objects to take a closer look at.

An Indigenous reframing of the fall of the Aztec empire
18 June 2021

On the quincentenary of the fall of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán, Laura Osorio Sunnucks and María Mercedes Martínez Milantchi explain the importance of centring Indigenous voices when researching this part of history.

Gods and goddesses of the Greek and Roman pantheon
7 May 2021

We’re taking a closer look at who’s who in the ancient Greek and Roman pantheon, using objects in the collection to explore the symbols and stories that can help us to identify each god and goddess.

Top 10 historical board games
26 February 2021

Try your hand at ten games spanning over 5,000 years of history – including ancient board games still played today, like the Game of Ur, senet, warri, mahjong and chess.

Disability and the British Museum collection
3 December 2020

3 December is International Day of Disabled Persons. To mark the occasion, we’re exploring some ongoing research into the history of disability in the collection through six objects selected by staff and volunteers.

Depicting the dead: ancient Egyptian mummy portraits
27 October 2020

Senior scientist Caroline Cartwright explores how these fascinating objects were made, and what they can tell us about the people they portray.

Eight LGBTQ objects to celebrate Pride
26 June 2020

June is Pride month, and although there’s no parade this year, we’re celebrating LGBTQ stories from the collection picked by our LGBTQ tour volunteers, colleagues from partner museums and people who’ve worked with us recently.

The Great Wave: spot the difference
10 May 2020

Scientific researcher Capucine Korenberg zooms in on Hokusai’s world-famous wave and explores how subtle changes in the impressions and design can tell us about the making of this masterpiece.

13 landscapes to lose yourself in
14 April 2020

Need a change of scenery? Join us as we set off around the world to take in a baker’s dozen of delightful landscapes.

Saving Saraha: conservation of a Tibetan thangka
10 March 2020

From stitching silk to X-ray scanning, find out what goes into conserving a sacred object before it goes on display in Tantra: enlightenment to revolution.

A history of storytelling through pictures
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.  

Late bloomer: the exquisite craft of Mary Delany
20 March 2019

This Women’s History Month we’re shining a light on women artists in the collection. Here we take a closer look at the life and work of Mary Delany, who at 72 years of age began producing 985 extraordinarily detailed floral collages – a sophisticated combination of art and science.

The Islamic world: the big themes
26 February 2019

Curator William Greenwood explores the themes connecting objects from a vast and fascinating area, now on display in our Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world.

Love around the world
14 February 2019

Love is everywhere on Valentine’s Day and the Museum is no exception. Join us on a tour of love stories from across the globe.

Winter wonderlands
20 December 2018

We’ve rounded up 12 objects from across the Museum’s collection that capture the magic of winter. From 13,000-year-old reindeer to fur coats and cold-weather prints, discover some of the Museum’s wonderful winter objects…

A journey through the Islamic world in eight objects
18 October 2018

To celebrate the opening of the new Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world, curators of the gallery take a look at eight highlight objects from the collection.

Conserving a suit of samurai armour
26 September 2018

Organics conservator Tania Desloge discusses the conservation work undertaken on a newly acquired set of samurai armour.

Illustrating poetry on a 12th-century Chinese handscroll
21 March 2018

Curator Yu-ping Luk takes a closer look at a remarkable painted scroll that illustrates scenes from early Chinese poetry.

International women collectors
16 March 2018

Sushma Jansari looks at the lives of four women collectors, and some of the objects they collected that are now in the British Museum.

A Vodou drum at the British Museum
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.

A processional chariot from south India
8 February 2018

Curator Richard Blurton takes a closer look at a remarkable processional chariot from Shrirangam in south India, and explains how it relates to the Hindu god Vishnu.

An introduction to the Parthenon and its sculptures
11 January 2018

The Parthenon in Athens is one of the most famous buildings from the ancient world. Its sculptures are greatly admired today. Here we take a closer look at why the building was so famous, and why these iconic works mark a key moment in the global history of art.

Ravi Shankar’s sitar: bringing India to the world
27 December 2017

Curator Richard Blurton tells the story behind an exciting new acquisition – a sitar owned and played by the great Indian musician Ravi Shankar.

A journey through China and South Asia in eight objects
14 December 2017

To celebrate the opening of our new gallery of China and South Asia, eight of our curators have each picked a key object on display.

The Lion Man: an Ice Age masterpiece
10 October 2017

Ahead of the exhibition Living with gods, Jill Cook takes a closer look at one of the exhibition’s key loans – the Lion Man, an incredible survival from the last Ice Age.

Poetic licence: the Museum gets lyrical
28 September 2017

Know your ode from your elegy? Your spondee from your dactyl? Then take a look at some of the poetry found within the Museum.

The Sword of Tiberius
8 September 2017

Curator Thorsten Opper reveals some of the secrets of the so-called Sword of Tiberius – the most famous sword to have survived from the Roman world.

Ladies aglow: finding the colour in 2,000-year-old figurines
1 September 2017

British Museum Scientist Joanne Dyer talks about the new scientific techniques that are casting ancient objects in a new light.

Solar eclipses, then and now
21 August 2017

As a solar eclipse crosses the United States on 21 August 2017, Curator Jonathan Taylor takes a look at what the Babylonians thought of this celestial phenomenon.

Object journeys: working with the Kiribati community in the UK
8 August 2017

Oceania Curator Polly Bence talks about her work with the UK’s Kiribati community through the Object Journeys project, helping to bring the British Museum’s Micronesia collection into focus.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Rosetta Stone
14 July 2017

You’ve probably heard of the Rosetta Stone. It’s one of the most famous objects in the British Museum, but what actually is it? Take a closer look…

‘Her Majesty’s Picture’: circulating a likeness of Elizabeth I
30 June 2017

Dora Thornton, Curator of Renaissance Collections, details how Queen Elizabeth I used her portrait to manipulate her public and private image.

Dirty old river: secrets of the Thames
31 May 2017

London’s history has always been closely connected to the River Thames, one of the UK’s longest and deepest rivers. On London History Day, Jennifer Wexler, Digital Research Project Producer, dredges up some of the fascinating objects found in this famous river.

Conserving Dürer’s Triumphal Arch: Getting the big picture
21 May 2017

As the project to conserve Dürer’s Triumphal Arch reaches the final stages Sam Taylor and Agnieszka Depta work with the Hirayama Studio to prepare the print for future display.

Tom Scott vs Dr Irving Finkel: The Royal Game of Ur
29 April 2017

For International Tabletop Day 2017, British Museum curator Irving Finkel challenged YouTuber Tom Scott to a round of the oldest playable board game in the world – The Royal Game of Ur – a game Irving discovered and deciphered the rules to himself.

Idrimi, the 3,500-year-old refugee
10 April 2017

The statue of King Idrimi arrived at the British Museum in 1939. The inscription that stretches across the front of the statue is now recognised as one of the 20 most important cuneiform documents ever found. James Fraser, Project Curator, Middle East Department, discusses the importance of Idrimi’s story, and how new scanning techniques are allowing us unravel the inscription in more detail.

1 April 2017

Take a closer look at five fakes, forgeries and things designed to fool in the Museum’s collection. Only a fool would fail to read this…

Mary Beard’s top five powerful women in ancient Greece and Rome
14 March 2017

March is Women’s History Month, so we’ve asked Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and Classics editor of the TLS, to give us a quick countdown of five female figures from the ancient world.

Conservation and Observation: more on a copper alloy cauldron from Ur
20 February 2017

Hazel Gardiner is working on the Ur digitisation project, continuing the work started in the 1920s and 1930s by archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley. In this blog Hazel Gardiner describes using X-radiography and analysis to unearth the mysteries of a third millennium BC copper-alloy cauldron.

Conserving Dürer’s Triumphal Arch: it’ll all come out in the wash
10 February 2017

The project to conserve Dürer’s Triumphal Arch reaches the next stage. Sam Taylor takes technical photographs of the sheets discovering long-hidden details in the handmade paper, delicately unpicks old glue and gives the work a bath.

Facing the past: the Jericho Skull
17 January 2017

Over 50 years ago, excavations near the town of Jericho revealed a mysterious human skull. But it was only recently that Museum researchers have been able to learn more about the person behind the plaster, thanks to modern technology.

Uncovering a colourful past
9 January 2017

The hidden colours of an ancient Egyptian coffin are revealed through a combination of analysis and non-invasive multispectral imaging techniques. Here Joanne Dyer and Nicola Newman shed light on the process.

Object Journeys
6 December 2016

Object Journeys is a new three-year partnership project at the British Museum. Generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund the programme will see the Museum support and collaborate with community partners to research and explore ethnographic collections and to work directly with staff towards a gallery intervention in response to these objects.

Conserving Dürer’s Triumphal Arch: coming apart at the seams
15 March 2016

In the next part of our blog series on the project to conserve Dürer’s Triumphal Arch, Agnieszka Depta begins the delicate process of removing the print’s fragile linen backing and separating the work into its original 38 sheets.

Corroded ruin or hidden treasure?
3 March 2016

Hazel Gardiner is working on the Ur digitisation project, continuing the work started in the 1920s and 1930s by archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley.  In this blog Hazel describes one of her current tasks, working on the metal objects and in particular a third millenium copper-alloy cauldron.

Sharp of teeth: crocodiles in the ancient Sahara
16 February 2016

Through the combination of CT scans and archaeological research, the display of a four-metre long mummified crocodile introduces visitors to the beliefs of ancient Egyptians, to whom this mummy was an incarnation of the crocodile god Sobek.

A medieval alchemical book reveals new secrets
5 February 2016

Bink Hallum and Marcel Marée discuss hieroglyphic texts on display in the Egypt: faith after the pharaohs exhibition and in particular the 18th-century copy of the Book of the Seven Climes.

Exploring the First Gaster Bible: a British Library Hebrew manuscript
4 January 2016

Ilana Tahan explains the significance of a selection of fragments from the First Gaster Bible, on display in the Egypt: faith after the pharaohs exhibition.

Faith after the pharaohs: Egyptian papyri conservation
29 December 2015

In preparation for the Egypt: faith after the pharaohs exhibition five papyri, loaned from the Egypt Exploration Society, came into the Paper Conservation studio. Conservator Bridget Leach was involved in carrying out minor repairs to the manuscripts before remounting them ahead of the exhibition.

Spring cleaning with Dürer: conserving the Triumphal Arch
3 August 2015

Whilst carrying out a student placement Lauren Buttle, a candidate for a Masters of Art Conservation at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, was involved in the first stage of the conservation process of Albrect Dürer’s Triumphal Arch, assisting in cleaning the 3.5 m x 3 m, 16th- century print. 

Conserving Dürer’s Triumphal Arch: photography and imaging
3 July 2015

The project to conserve Dürer’s Triumphal Arch reaches the next stage. Ivor Kerslake and Joanna Russel lset out to take a series of high-resolution images as well as infrared and ultraviolet imaging to reveal information about the work, vital for the next stage in the conservation process.

Conserving Dürer’s Triumphal Arch: a moving experience
19 March 2015

In autumn 2014, Albrecht Dürer’s monumental Triumphal Arch went on display in the Asahi Shimbun Display in Room 3 to great success. In this blog, Joanna Kosek, discusses the delicate operation of dismantling such an exhibition.

The shock of the nude
20 February 2015

Ian Jenkins, Exhibition Curator, at the British Museum is currently working on Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art. In this blog Ian discusses the role of nudity and the male body in Ancient Greek society as an expression of social, moral and political values.

3D-imaging the Assyrian reliefs at the British Museum: from the 1850s to today
19 November 2014

Computer 3D technology is being increasingly adopted in museums to aid with conservation, curatorial research and interpretation. Here Matthew Cock explains how scans of the British Museum’s collection of Assyrian reliefs take by a team CyArk provide a fantastic resource that we can use to help people better understand and engage with these objects.

One night at the Museum: moving Dürer’s paper triumph
12 September 2014

In preparation for The Asahi Shimbun Display of Dürer’s paper triumph: the arch of the Emperor Maximilian a team of specialists gathered to move the famous woodcut of the Triumphal Arch by Albrecht Dürer. Joanna Kosek describes how they managed to move and dismantle the print over the course of one night.

Conserving the pottery, terracotta and tablets from Ur
21 August 2014

Duygu Camurcuoglu is working on the Ur digitisation project. In this blog Duygu introduces us to the project and describes what her role entails.

Violence and climate change in prehistoric Egypt and Sudan
14 July 2014

The Early Egypt Gallery (Room 64) has undergone a full-blown refurbishment with new themes and displays throughout. Here Renée Friedman explains some of the highlights of the gallery including the new acquisitions from the site of Jebel Sahaba and the return of the popular virtual autopsy table allowing a deeper look into the Gebelein Man.

What lies beneath: new discoveries about the Jericho skull
3 July 2014

Using a CT scanner to look beneath the surface, Alexandra Fletcher was able to reveal new details about one of the the oldest human remains in the British Museum collection, the Jericho skull.

The sinking of the Lusitania: medals as war propaganda
7 May 2014

As a reaction to the sinking of RMS Lusitania by torpedo on 7 May 1915, German artist Karl Goetz produced the Lusitania medal satirising the subject. Henry Flynn explains the symbolism behind the medal which will be on display in The other side of the medal: how Germany saw the First World War.

Viking women, warriors, and valkyries
19 April 2014

Judith Jesch, Professor of Viking Studies at the University of Nottingham discusses viking women, warriors and Valkyries.

The die that struck Britain’s first coins?
11 April 2014

One of the most recent acquisitions made by the Department of Coins and Medals is a highly unusual object – an ancient punch or ‘die’ used to manufacture coins in the second century BC. Curators Ian Leins and Emma Morris hope the ‘die’ will shed new light on when the first coins were made in Britain.

Did women in Greece and Rome speak?
24 March 2014

Recently, Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge University gave a London Review of Books Winter Lecture at the British Museum on the public voice of women today. In this blog Mary discusses whether women had a public voice in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Was the ark round? A Babylonian description discovered
24 January 2014

Irving Finkle discusses the object at the heart of his new book, a cuneiform tablet with a sixty-line passage from the ancient Babylonian Story of the Flood.

The art (and science) of a colourful, cross-culturally dressing statue
2 November 2012

Following our post last week about a cross-cultural statue of Horus, British Museum scientist, Joanne Dyer explains how we know what he once looked like.

Pigment and power dressing in Roman Egypt
26 October 2012

While preparing the limestone sculpture of Horus for display, Curator Elisabeth R. O’Connell had a chance to work with British Museum Scientist Joanne Dyer to identify some of the pigments that were used on the sculpture. Along with some additional analysis using an innovative imaging technique to detect pigment in areas not visible to the naked eye, the pair was able to suggest a colour reconstruction. Here Elisabeth discusses the outcome.

Two hoards and one unknown Viking ruler
14 December 2011

In 2011 when only a few months earlier a hoard of over 90 coins and hacksilver was discovered in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, a second discovery of a Viking silver hoard was unearthed in Silverdale, Lancashire. Ian Richardson talks about what happened when the two Viking silver hoards were discovered. 

Newly-acquired Cycladic figurine goes on display
5 July 2011

Lesley Fitton shares some exciting news around one of the latest additions to The Cycladic Gallery an extremely rare marble figurine of the ‘hunter-warrior’ type.

What is a Book of the Dead?
22 September 2010

John Taylor is the curator of the ‘Journey through the afterlife: ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead’ exhibition, a hugely popular programme that opened at the British Museum in November, 2010. In this article he expands on one of the most popular and fascinating objects to have appeared: The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.