An introduction to Feminine power
11 April 2022

Get a sneak peek into Feminine power with exhibition curators, Lucy Dahlsen and Belinda Crerar. In this blog post, they take us through some of the key stories explored within the show and a few of the most exciting pieces within the collection.

Ancient healthcare fit for a king
30 November 2021

‘The Nineveh Medical Encyclopaedia’ is a 2,600-year-old handbook for medicine containing thousands of descriptions of diseases and symptoms, together with therapeutic prescriptions. It’s currently being translated into English as part of a Wellcome Trust funded project – Researcher Krisztian Simko takes a closer look at the story of ancient medicine, and some of the complaints and cures listed in the ancient Mesopotamian encyclopedia.

Reimagining a Tahitian mourning costume
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

Ian Hislop’s objecting objects
17 September 2018

The Private Eye editor talks about a handful of favourite objects from his new exhibition.

Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
26 June 2018

A new audio commentary tour exploring LGBTQ histories in the Museum’s collection has just been launched. Head of Interpretation and Volunteers, Stuart Frost, highlights objects from the tour and looks at stories that, until recently, have been overlooked or underrepresented in museums and galleries.

Living with gods: highlight objects
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.

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.

Curator’s corner: Irving Finkel and the Lewis Chessmen
25 September 2017

Curator Irving Finkel may have joined the wrong department to look after the Lewis Chessmen, but that hasn’t stopped him writing a book on them, and having a surprising connection to a film about a certain boy wizard.

A new acquisition: a magnificent drawing by Benozzo Gozzoli
18 September 2017

Curator Sarah Vowles takes a closer look at a spectacular Florentine Renaissance drawing recently acquired by the Museum.

Inheriting the most iconic object at the British Museum
15 July 2017

Ilona Regulski is Curator of Egyptian Written Culture at the British Museum. This includes looking after one of the most iconic objects in the world! Here, she shares what she has learnt since becoming the latest custodian of the Rosetta Stone.

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…

Be bold: LGBTQ histories
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.

‘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.

Let’s talk about sex
27 June 2017

In an age when talking about ‘the birds and the bees’ doesn’t cut it anymore, Education Manager Melany Rose explains an important new offering at the Museum for schools.

Time to shine: a 17th-century night clock
13 June 2017

Curator of horology Oli Cooke takes a closer look at a beautiful 17th-century clock that presents a novel way to tell the time in the middle of the night.

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.

The Frome Hoard voted top Treasure
21 May 2017

As the Frome Hoard is voted the nation’s top Treasure find of the last 20 years by Telegraph readers, Sam Moorhead, Finds Adviser for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, takes a look back at this remarkable discovery and how its legacy continues today.

South Asia season 2017
3 May 2017

2017 marks the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, and the emergence of India and Pakistan as independent nation states and is also the India-UK Year of Culture. To celebrate this, the British Museum is presenting a season bringing together different activity in London and across the UK, celebrating the many cultures of South Asia.

Making waves
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.

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.

Change is good! A history of money
27 March 2017

To celebrate Global Money Week, Curator of the Citi Money Gallery Benjamin Alsop unpacks the sometimes weird, sometimes wonderful, but always fascinating world of money.

Giving a voice to ancient Egyptian poetry
15 March 2017

How do you capture the ancient resonances of phrases that mean nothing to modern audiences? How do you invest them with meaning and emotion without a set of explanatory footnotes that kill all spontaneity? Oxford University professor Richard Bruce Parkinson worked with actress and writer Barbara Ewing to record a dramatic reading of one of the finest works of Egyptian poetry The Tale of Sinuhe. 

Women of the world
8 March 2017

Did you know that the word ‘museum’ literally means a temple to the muses, all of whom were female (albeit allegorical)? This International Women’s Day, take a look at some of the very real women represented in the Museum’s collection today. Your guides are some of the many women curators who are continuing to tell these important stories to the 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.

The oldest portrait in the British Museum
6 February 2017

The Jericho Skull is arguably the oldest portrait in the British Museum – a human skull from the ancient city of Jericho which had plaster applied to it to form a type of early facial reconstruction. The Jericho Skull is fascinating to look at, but since being discovered in 1953, archaeologists weren’t able to find out much more about this man – until now.

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.

A journey with Oxford’s Hindu community
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.

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.

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.

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.

Loan of a Parthenon sculpture to the Hermitage
5 December 2014

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, the British Museum loaned the sculpture of the river-god Ilissos from the West pediment of the Parthenon. Neil MacGregor, Director of The British Museum shares some of the history of the long standing friendship between the first great museums of the European Enlightenment.

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.

Tattoos in ancient Egypt and Sudan
26 June 2014

Due to the nature of human remains from ancient Egypt and Nubia, evidence for tattooing is scarce. However in the Ancient lives, new discoveries exhibition, one of the mummies on display is so well preserved the British Museum has located a tattoo and other marks on her skin. Marie Vandenbeusch discusses the significance of this discovery.

A new look at ancient Egyptian textiles
2 June 2014

Amandine Mérat and Emily Taylor have been working on reordering the Museum’s Egyptian textiles collection not by provenance or date but by technique. By conducting a close visual examination of technique, and drawing on knowledge of their cultural background, they hope to determine the possible original function of many of the textiles.

Decoding Anglo-Saxon art
28 May 2014

The intricate designs of Anglo-Saxon brooches, buckles, and other pieces of decorative metalwork are not just pretty decoration, they have multi-layered symbolic meanings and tell stories. Curator Rosie Weetch and Illustrator Craig Williams team up to decode some key Anglo-Saxon objects.

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.

Virtual autopsy: discover how the ancient Egyptian Gebelein Man died
16 November 2012

This year, British Museum curators have collaborated with scientists and medical experts to perform a CT scan of a naturally-preserved mummy know as the Gebelein Man. Detailed images created from the scans’ high resolution X-rays allow us to look inside his body and learn about his life – and death – in ways never before possible. Daniel Antoine tells us what we have been able to discover about the Gebelein Man.

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.

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.