Welcome to A History of the World
It is the power of things that has inspired the British Museum and BBC Radio 4 series. The British Museum's collection is uniquely well placed to allow us to do this - ever since its founding in 1753 the Museum has collected and displayed the world. Through 100 objects from across the Museum's collection we will tell a global history - A History of the World.
So, what objects have we chosen, and how did we pick them?
You can find them on the A History of the World website, and on display in the Museum. As you'll see we didn't choose them simply because they are beautiful - although there are some stunning objects among them: the Swimming Reindeer, the Standard of Ur, or the Mold Gold Cape.
You'll also see that they're not in the series for their fame - although there are some celebrities, such as the colossal Statue of Ramesses II. Neither did we choose the most obviously impressive objects - in fact some are very small indeed, like the Indus seal.
We chose them because of the stories they can tell.
The objects I'll be talking about in each programme tell us what people were doing, what they were thinking, how they lived and why they did what they did. In many cases objects, especially in societies without writing, are the only evidence we have to connect us with the people of the past.
And so we travel through time and place from two million years ago right up to the present day. In fact, the final object has yet to be chosen but will be selected later in the year to represent the world as we move further into a new century.
Along the way we look at the connections and contacts between societies that show how the story of the world is the story of the whole world.
That's a story the Museum has been examining since it opened its doors to the public 250 years ago. Now, through the website, the whole world can come and look at the objects in the series - a natural progression of the Museum's original purpose, to give free access to all 'studious and curious persons', from across the globe.
In addition I'm delighted that over 350 of our museum colleagues across the UK are joining in, nominating and displaying objects from their own collections which tell a local and global history.
We also want you to show us your objects, to upload them to the website and tell us the personal, local and global stories that connect you to the rest of the world, or show your place in that world.
That's what A History of the World in 100 objects aims to do and through this ambitious project, on air and online, I hope that visitors and listeners will use museum objects, and their own objects, to construct their own history of the world - a true world history.