Monday, February 22, 2010

The History of the World in 100 Objects

I love history, so I was delighted to discover a new podcast produced by the British Museum entitled The history of the World in 100 Objects. Every weekday, for 100 days, one object from the collection of the museum is discussed. The program is very well realized and authoritatively presented by the incredibly knowledgeable Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum. Each program is under 15 minutes long. There is also a web site where one can listen to the shows and see all the objects. There is a lot of extra detailed information there.

The Mold Gold Cape (object 19) pictured above is from Northern Wales and made by a Bronze Age craftsman about 4000 years ago. Its discovery certainly changed the ideas of what prehistoric man was capable of!

There is certainly a lot of controversy around the issue of treasures collected in the 18th-19th century by colonial governments, and claimed, cataloged and displayed in museums far from the object's country of origin. There is no doubt that the British Museum holds a great number of treasures of some resentful current governments who would like them back. It is also true that the British have been very conscientious custodians of these precious objects. I have some very mixed feelings about museums, but it is a great privilege to see these fascinating objects all in one place and be able to learn about them one by one from an erudite historian.


  1. How very interesting...thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. We are so used to old things ! May be we don't pay attention enough but it is true that ability of those men is amazing.
    It reminds me of Lieu Unique in Nantes where they asked people to let one thing of their present environment in a wall in year 2000. The wall will be opened again in 2100, that is not very far away ... To-day, we create both past and future. Crazy, is n't ?
    LU was this old famous cookies factory, now a very attractive cultural center near the station in Nantes.