Exhibitions and events
What’s on at the British Museum in 2019?

2019 is packed with show-stopping exhibitions, brought to life with a programme of exciting events – from an Aboriginal Australian music response to the Reimagining Captain Cook exhibition, to Munch-inspired art workshops for young families.

Here is a run through of our major exhibition and free displays highlights – follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news.

Major exhibitions

Edvard Munch: love and angst

Until 21 July 2019
The Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery, Room 35

Edvard Munch, The Scream. Lithograph, 1895. CC BY 4 The Munch Museum.

The creator of art’s most haunting and iconic face. A radical father of Expressionism. Norway’s answer to Vincent van Gogh. But who was the artist behind The Scream? Discover this pioneering, subversive artist as we lift the veil on the life and works of Edvard Munch. Munch’s innovative techniques, bold use of colour and dark subject matter resonated with shifting attitudes – and mark him out as one of the first truly ‘modern’ artists. In this collaborative exhibition with the Munch Museum in Oslo, see how he mastered the art of printmaking and explore his remarkable body of work.

Supported by AKO Foundation

The Citi exhibition


Until 26 August 2019
The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, Room 30

Noda Satoru. Golden Kamuy, 2014 onwards. © Satoru Noda/SHUEISHA.

Enter a graphic world where art and storytelling collide in the largest exhibition of manga ever to take place outside of Japan. Now a multimedia global phenomenon, manga developed after the Second World War, but its artistic roots can be traced back to the 12th century. A fascinating glimpse into Japanese culture, this immersive and playful exhibition explores manga’s cultural crossover, showcasing original Japanese manga and its influence across the globe, from anime to ‘cosplay’ dressing up.

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Supported by Citi
Logistics partner IAG Cargo

Inspired by the east: how the Islamic world influenced western art

10 October 2019 – 26 January 2020
The Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery, Room 35

Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863), Studies of a seated Arab man. Black, red and white chalk, brush and red-brown wash, 1832.

The art of the Islamic world has inspired Western artists for centuries – and this major exhibition examines the long and complex cultural interactions between East and West. Objects range from the 15th century to the present day, with works by painters such as Delacroix and Lewis alongside many examples of material culture – from costume books and decorative arts to video installation. The exhibition re-examines the idea of Orientalism, offering a fresh look at this cultural relationship.

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Supported by Jack Ryan

Sponsored by Standard Chartered

The BP exhibition

Troy: myth and reality

21 November 2019 – 8 March 2020
The Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery, Room 30

Black figure pot showing Achilles slaying the Amazon queen Penthesilea, c. 530–525 BC.

Tread the line between myth and reality in our epic exhibition, Troy. The ancient city of Troy holds an enduring place in our imagination. The Trojan War is central to Greek myth and inspired Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, as well as works by Virgil and Shakespeare – and still inspires artists and writers today. From the judgment of Paris and the Trojan horse to the death of Achilles and the tragic love story of Troilus and Cressida, this exhibition will tell Troy’s legendary stories, with a diverse range of objects including archaeological discoveries that suggest there may be a real Troy behind the myth.

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Supported by BP

Free exhibitions and displays

The World Exists To Be Put On A Postcard: artists’ postcards from 1960 to now

Until 4 August 2019
Prints and Drawings, Room 90

South Atlantic Souvenirs (1982–95). Detail from Crime Wave. Postcard, 1982. Gifted to the British Museum by Jeremy Cooper.

This exhibition highlights the largely unexplored way in which artists have used postcards as an artform since the 1960s. Featuring some of the most well-known contemporary artists from this period – including Carl Andre, Rachel Whiteread, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono and Gilbert & George – the show will reveal how the limited form of the postcard has been embraced as a hugely versatile and often transgressive medium.

Rembrandt: thinking on paper

Until 4 August 2019
Prints and Drawings, Room 90

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), Woman Sleeping. Brush and brown wash drawing, c. 1654.

Marking the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn’s death, this exhibition presents rarely seen prints and drawings, offering a new view of this Old Master’s technical and creative ingenuity. The British Museum has one of the greatest collections of the Dutch artist’s works on paper and this exhibition of 70 works reveals the immediacy, ingenuity and personal nature of his prints and drawings.

Reimagining Captain Cook: Pacific perspectives

Until 4 August 2019
Africa, Oceania and the Americas, Room 91

Michel Tuffery (b. 1966), Cookie in the Cook Islands. Acrylic painting on canvas, 2008. Reproduced by permission of the artist.

250 years ago, James Cook left England on the first of three expeditions to the Pacific Ocean – a skillful navigator, his voyage accounts were widely read. Today, however, his legacy is debated both here and in the Pacific. This exhibition explores these perspectives and displays the work of contemporary Pacific artists alongside objects collected on the voyages themselves.

Supported by Stephen and Julie Fitzgerald

Playing with money: currency and games

Until 29 September 2019
Coins and Medals, Room 69a

Barbie ‘Shop With Me’ toy cash register with toy credit card, made in China, 2003.

The 20th century witnessed the transformation of money from precious metals to paper currency, from credit cards to digital crypto-currencies. These changes are chronicled in the evolution of childhood games which, in turn, shape the way we think about the world. This exhibition will explore these connections, drawing on the Museum’s rich collection of games, toys, gambling ephemera and money.

Portrait of an artist: Käthe Kollwitz

12 September 2019 – 12 January 2020
Prints and Drawings, Room 90

Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), Selbstbildnis (Self-portrait). Lithograph, 1924.

This show celebrates the humanity and enduring impact of one of the most influential 20th-century printmakers – Käthe Kollwitz. Featuring nearly 40 works from the Museum’s collection, this exhibition explores the work of the socially minded German artist through self-portraits and images of the poor and dispossessed.

Pushing paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now

12 September 2019 – 12 January 2020
Prints and Drawings, Room 90

Richard Deacon (b. 1949). Some interference 14.01.06. Ink and graphite on paper, 2006.

Celebrating drawing in its own right, rather than its historic role as preparatory to painting, this display explores how contemporary artists as diverse as Tacita Dean, Richard Deacon, Imran Qureshi and Anish Kapoor have used drawing to examine themes including identity, place and memory. Collaboratively conceived by curators from across the UK, this exhibition follows on from our touring exhibition Lines of thought.

Supported by the Bridget Riley Art Foundation

Sir Stamford Raffles: collecting in Southeast Asia 1811-1824

19 September 2019 – 20 January 2020
Africa, Oceania and the Americas, Room 91

Cast-bronze figure made in the Kediri Style. Java, 17th–18th century.

This exhibition presents the myriad objects from Java and Sumatra collected by Sir Stamford Raffles (1781–1826), the British statesman who founded Singapore and the British Malaya. From theatrical objects, to images of people from across social divides, this collection explores 19th century Javanese society and its Hindu-Buddhist traditions. It will address key questions about what Raffles collected and why, as well as what the collection can tell us about him, and about Java.

Supported by the Singapore High Commission

Currency in crisis: German emergency money 1914 –1923

3 October 2018 – 29 March 2020
Coins and Medals, Room 69a

Left: 50 pfennig note issued in Eisenach, Germany in 1921.
Right: 75 pfennig note issued in Eldagsen, Germany in 1921.

Notgeld, or ‘emergency money’, from the early Weimar Republic, is a powerful illustration of German instability in and after the First World War. This exhibition will reveal how this temporary currency responded to a national crisis with distinctive designs featuring regional landmarks and folk narratives. Through the Museum’s collection of Notgeld, the show will explore how Germans viewed their homeland and identity during a period of intense turmoil, from the First World War to the hyperinflation of 1923.

With all these exciting exhibitions in 2019, it’s a great time to become a Member. You’ll get free unlimited entry to special exhibitions for a full year and a host of other benefits (including 10% off in the shop).