World History

This week saw the launch of a fabulous programme from the BBC and British Museum, A History of the World in 100 Objects. Every day a new object is ‘released’ in the form of an item on the website and a podcast of just under 15 minutes. There’s also a blog and the introductory post by Neil MacGregor sums up the programme nicely:

Most of us learn history from books, but I think that it is physical objects – actual things – that most powerfully connect us to the past – things made by somebody with hands just like ours, for a purpose we can still hope to understand…
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…
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.

As well as items from the British Museum’s collections there are items from other museums across the UK and the public are also encouraged to add their own objects to the website as well as commenting on objects. You can search objects by location, theme, culture, size, material and even colour. Today’s object was a carving of two swimming reindeer that is about 13,000 years-old.

Apart from the history angle (and I’ll confess to being a bit of a history geek) this presents a fascinating example of the kind of far-reaching, multi-dimensional, multi-partner project that we’re beginning to see particularly coming out of the UK. There’s just so many aspects to it:

3 thoughts on “World History

  1. richard 26 January 2010 / 11:18 am

    What a fanstastic collaborative offering – a great mix of media and content. I really like the way its history by discovery – what is this object? how was it used? when and where? … it lets you follow your natural curiosity. I ended up reading about Papua New Guinean farming :-)

  2. Shirley 28 January 2010 / 4:02 pm

    Good ‘ole BBC

  3. Shirley 28 January 2010 / 4:03 pm

    Good ol’ BBC!

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