A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Welcome to A History of the World. Below you can find all 100 episodes in the series. Although the series has ended, you can continue to listen to the episodes on this page or download them to keep on your computer or mp3 player by following the links on the right.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • A History of the World Special 18 May 2011

    Thu, 19 May 11

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Peter Lewis tells a story of love, separation and hardship, through the object he added to the BBC History of the World website: a portrait of a private soldier's sweetheart, painted secretly for his Uncle Bryn in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 100 Solar-powered lamp and charger 22 Oct 2010

    Fri, 22 Oct 10

    Duration:
    14 mins

    A lamp that runs off sunlight. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at the final object in the series: a solar-powered lamp with a charger that can bring cheap light and power to people around the world with no access to the electric grid. Simple, cheap and clean – is this the revolutionary technology of our future? With contributions from Aloka Sarder, a mother and adult student in West Bengal, and Nick Stern, expert on the economics of climate change.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 099 Credit card 21 Oct 2010

    Thu, 21 Oct 10

    Duration:
    14 mins

    A plastic credit card. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the changing role of money in the modern world by looking at a Shari'a compliant credit card. How is modern banking adapting for new markets and what are the moral issues confronting global finance? With contributions from Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, and Razi Fakih of HSBC bank.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 098 Throne of Weapons 20 Oct 2010

    Wed, 20 Oct 10

    Duration:
    15 mins

    Chair made from decommissioned guns. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the impact of weapons on the modern world by examining a sculptured throne made from decommissioned guns. The weapons are remnants of the Mozambique civil war - a conflict that claimed almost one million lives. With contributions by the artist, Kester, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 097 Hockney's In the Dull Village 19 Oct 2010

    Tue, 19 Oct 10

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Print by the British artist David Hockney. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the sexual revolution of the 1960s through a print by David Hockney which shows two men in bed together. The work was one of a series created as the British government was planning to decriminalise sex between male partners over the age of 21. Including contributions by the artist himself and Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 096 Russian revolutionary plate 18 Oct 2010

    Mon, 18 Oct 10

    Duration:
    15 mins

    Decorated plate from St Petersburg. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the Russian Revolution by looking at a plate painted with propaganda for the new Communist state. The plate was made at the Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, in 1901 but was decorated 20 years later in the same factory, which had become the State Porcelain Factory in the newly-named city of Petrograd. With contributions by Mikhail Piotrovsky and Eric Hobsbawn.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 095 Suffragette-defaced penny 15 Oct 2010

    Fri, 15 Oct 10

    Duration:
    15 mins

    A defaced coin from 1903. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the rise of mass political engagement in Britain and the emergence of the suffragettes by examining a penny coin, on which the image of Edward VII has been defaced with the words 'Votes for women'. With contributions from Helena Kennedy QC and the artist Felicity Powell.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 094 Sudanese slit drum 14 Oct 2010

    Thu, 14 Oct 10

    Duration:
    14 mins

    A wooden drum from central Africa. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines a buffalo-shaped drum from Sudan which was played in a court orchestra and used to transmit messages or summon warriors to war. The drum was captured by the British and Egyptian army at the Battle of Omdurman, near Khartoum, in 1898 and presented to Queen Victoria by Lord Kitchener.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 093 Hokusai's The Great Wave 13 Oct 2010

    Wed, 13 Oct 10

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Hokusai woodblock print. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines The Great Wave by Hokusai, one of the defining images of the power of the sea. He discovers its production initiated a wider awareness of Japanese art and became emblematic of the opening up of the country in the second half of the 19th century. With contributions by Donald Keene and Christine Guth.

    Download 7MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • 092 Early Victorian Tea Set 12 Oct 2010

    Tue, 12 Oct 10

    Duration:
    15 mins

    Wedgwood pottery tea set. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at the history of Britain's relationship with tea by examining an early Victorian stoneware set made by the Staffordshire pottery firm of Wedgwood. He discovers how mass-produced pottery and porcelain popularised the beverage. With contributions by Celina Fox and Monique Simmonds.

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