British Museum

  1. British Museum curator warns of climate change peril

    Collection Manager Sam Wyles handles a Yupiit seal gut parka, part of a nineteenth and twentieth century kayak collection being readied for display during a behind the scenes preview of the "Arctic: culture and climate" exhibition at the British Museum
    Image caption: Collection Manager Sam Wyles handles a Yupiit seal gut parka, part of a 19th and 20th century kayak collection as part of the "Arctic: culture and climate" exhibition at the British Museum

    The curator of an exhibition at the British Museum has said people should listen to the concerns of the Arctic communities about the impact of climate change.

    Amber Lincoln said it was "really important" to preserve the history of the Arctic's indigenous people and added living conditions in the Arctic have changed considerably over recent decades.

    "It has been changed over the 30,000 years that people have lived there, but what we are experiencing now is different.

    "It is human caused and it is happening so quickly."

    Ms Lincoln added: "I think people need to listen to local people, indigenous Arctic people as they give their perspective and their stories about how they are responding to these changes now, because they are the best stewards of their land."

    The exhibition, Arctic: Culture And Climate, aims to "get rid of the divide between Arctic communities and London".

    At the beginning of the exhibition, a video shows how much the Arctic has shrunk in recent years, as well as a projection of how much of the ice will melt over the next few decades.

    A number of displays focus on the resourcefulness of Arctic communities and their ability to get food, tools and clothing from their sparse surroundings.

    It opens later this month.

  2. British Museum removes bust of slave-owning founding father

    The British Museum has removed a bust of its founding father, who was a slave owner, and said it wanted to confront its links to colonialism.

    Hartwig Fischer, the institution's director, revealed the likeness of Sir Hans Sloane has been placed in a secure cabinet alongside artefacts explaining his work in the context of the British Empire.

    Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Fischer said: "We have pushed him off the pedestal. We must not hide anything. Healing is knowledge."

    The decision had been taken partly as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, the museum's curators said.

    Protests against racial inequality broke out around the world following the death of George Floyd in the US in May. Sir Hans, an Irish-born physician born in 1660, partly funded his collection from enslaved labour on Jamaican sugar plantations.

    His artefacts provided the starting point for what became the British Museum.

  3. British Museum cleaning under way ahead of reopening

    Man cleaning artefact

    Specialists are working on the biggest single cleaning programme at the British Museum in decades after dust accumulated on artefacts during the lockdown.

    Teams of experts have been cleaning the surfaces of the exhibits in order to prevent them from getting damaged by the particles.

    More than 30 staff members have been working on dusting the museum's collections for around three weeks.

    The venue, which has been shut to visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic, is set to reopen on 27 August.

    Fabiana Portoni, the museum's preventive conservator and dust expert, said that the accumulation of dust particles on the museum's ancient artefacts can cause long-term damage.

    The shortage of people flowing through the galleries and disrupting the air meant dust accumulated in more unusual places where it wouldn't normally be expected to be found, she said, adding that only limited cleaning took place while the museum was closed

    Visits to the museum will need to be pre-booked and a one-way route will be installed around some of its galleries.

  4. Former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen tells us how a Dorset object inspired his Halloween poem.

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    Video caption: We hear from Michael and Dr Mel Giles from the British Museum about the Portesham Mirror.
  5. David Hockney art on display in Dorchester

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    Video caption: One of the most expensive living artists etchings part of same sex relationship exhibition
  6. Norman Conquest coin cache shows evidence of tax evasion

    Coins

    A hoard of coins dating back to the Battle of Hastings shows evidence of early tax evasion in Britain.

    Thousands of silver coins unearthed in Somerset by a metal-detecting couple shine fresh light on the aftermath of the Norman invasion, the British Museum has said.

    Coins from around 1066 depicting both the defeated King Harold II and the triumphant conqueror William I were found in a field in the Chew Valley.

    Rebecca Pow, minister for arts, heritage and tourism, said: "This is a very exciting discovery and important finds like this shed new light on the remarkable and fascinating history of our country."

    Coins in the 1,000-year-old hoard show signs of being illicitly tampered with, sporting mixed designs on either side.

    Experts say this is evidence that the person striking the coins was using an older design - from an older coining tool - and essentially avoiding paying a fee to obtain the up-to-date design.

    The British Museum has received the coins, and a coroner will decided whether the hoard is officially treasure and where it should be held.