Curator’s Corner: Meet the Wonders of The British Museum!

Posted on February 4, 2017 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Museums are some of the most remarkable places in the world!

And though you may not totally agree with that statement now, I certainly hope you will by the end of today’s Edition of Ever Widening Circles Saturdays Around the World.

Image: A collage of the wonders of the British Museum
Source:  Mark Ramsey // FlickrNic McPhee //Wikimedia,  Wikipedia

So, which museum are we heading to?

This journey takes us to The British Museum in London, England. This magnificent record of history was the first national public museum in the world when it opened its doors in January of 1759. Since then, it has come to house some of the world’s most incredible relics.

On this trip, we aren’t just taking you into the museum. We are taking you into the Curator’s Corner. Okay, so the Curator’s Corner isn’t an actual place, but it is one of the many incredible web series on the museum’s YouTube Channel.

So, not only are we diving into some of the world coolest treasures, we are also hearing from the people who have the remarkable job of studying, preserving, and sharing the history of these treasures!

The first episode we are sharing with you today is the pilot episode of the series. It features Irving Finkel, a world renowned philologist and Assyriologist. His connections to The British Museum run remarkably deep. And his story is certainly inspiring to anybody with a life long passion.

What a legendary story of passion and circumstance!

The next time I find myself in a museum, I will most certainly be one of those that will have to be apologetically herded out when the museum closes. There really is so much to appreciate!

Decoding Faces from the Past

Up next, we head over to meet Alexandra Fletcher and one of the museum’s most curious objects.

If you want to check out the podcast she mentioned, I HIGHLY recommend it! I listened to it myself and it gave me a much greater appreciation of what the world of archeological discovery looks like.

An Emotional Connection to History

Finally, I want to share this one last video with you.

History can often seem far away and unattached to us here in real life. Sometimes, we feel distanced because the objects we see span back too far for us to grasp. Sometimes, we simply see the objects in a museum as too precious, untouchable, and unattached to our emotions. It’s hard to look at a stunning piece of gold jewelry or the Rosetta Stone and feel deeply and personally attached to them.

And that is why I love this next episode of Curator’s Corner. This episode explores a love story from World War I written on an ordinary coin.

Beyond the Curator’s Corner

The British museum has a wonderful YouTube channel filled with amazing videos (which will certainly be making their way to future EWC articles) as well as some other amazing online resources!

First, you can take a virtual tour of the museum with Google Maps. This is a great way to see some of the world’s most incredible treasures right from the comfort of your own home!

And second, they have a great visualizer where they have cataloged pieces from their connection in a 3D model that allows you to see historical and cultural connections between artifacts found all over the world! In addition, each of the objects there is accompanied by an audioguide that talks about the artifact’s significance.

It’s yet another incredible way to engage with one of the most robust historical collections on the planet, and I highly suggest jumping over there to take a look.

Image: Students looking at the Rosetta Stone in The British Museum
Source: insunlight // Flickr

Finally, I want to thank The British Museum and other museums around the world for making it possible for people around the planet to explore their rich collections from our own homes and classrooms.

Museums not only connect us to our rich pasts but ignite people’s passions and curiosity. When we can all share in that history it allows us to see how interconnected we are, and build a future that brings us together.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl