Special Events

  • 189 pieces: The Portland Vase

    189 pieces: The Portland Vase

    Saturday 11 October 2014, 15.00-16.30
    Stevenson Lecture Theatre
    £3, Members/concessions £2

    The Portland Vase, a masterpiece of Roman glass now in the British Museum’s collection, was deliberately smashed by a visitor in 1845, and has since been restored (the last time in 1989). Come and see a rehearsed reading of this new play by Sue Blundell which dramatizes the ups and downs of the famous vase’s history.

    Directed by Katie Merritt and produced by the Maverick Theatre Company. 


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  • Ancient Greek scent symposium

    Ancient Greek scent symposium

    Friday 12 September 2014, 18.30 - 20.00
    Room 12
    £15, online booking only

    Hosted by fragrance experts Odette Toilette and James Craven, this perfumed immersion into the world of the ancient Greeks takes the form of a conversational (and sniffable!) symposium, amid the sculptures from the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos. After a drink of wine and oil anointing, make your way through to the gallery for an evening of scent and story, intertwining social history with the uses of fragrance in mythology. Each story will be brought to life through representative perfumes to try.

    BM/PM takes place every second Friday of the month. Relax at the bar with friends and catch performances that take a fresh look at the Museum’s collection. 


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  • Anglo-German relations

    Anglo-German relations

    Friday 31 October 2014, 18.30
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £5, Members/concessions £3

    This discussion will consider Anglo-German relations through history – from the traumas of the 20th century back to the Enlightenment, when the two nations fostered major artistic and cultural exchange. The recent past has clouded a rich relationship often characterised by a curious mix of mutual envy and admiration. Chaired by Rüdiger Görner, Founding Director of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations, featuring writers Philip Oltermann and Marcus Ferrar, Rosemary Ashton, UCL, and Gina Thomas, UK Cultural Correspondent, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


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  • BBC Radio 3: In Tune

    BBC Radio 3: In Tune

    Friday 17 October 2014, 16.00-18.30
    BP Lecture Theatre
    Free, booking essential

    In Tune is BBC Radio 3’s afternoon drive-time show. Presented by Sean Rafferty and Suzy Klein, it features a mix of live musical performance, interviews, arts news and new CD releases. To celebrate the opening of the new exhibition Germany: memories of a nation, In Tune will be broadcast live from the Museum. The audience in the BP Lecture Theatre will enjoy German chamber music performed by Radio 3 New Generation Artists and a short film of the curator discussing the exhibition highlights.

    Please be in your seat by 16.00 due to the live broadcast. 


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  • Bloomsbury and the world: the new Knowledge Quarter in Camden

    Bloomsbury and the world: the new Knowledge Quarter in Camden

    Tuesday 18 November 2014, doors open 18.30 for debate starting at 19.00
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £5, Members/concessions £3

    A look at the unique identity of Bloomsbury and in particular the creation of the Knowledge Quarter – the coming together of the many different organisations in the area to produce ideas and knowledge. 


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  • British Museum/Guardian public forum

    British Museum/Guardian public forum

    Tuesday 28 October 2014, 19.00
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £15, Members/concessions £12

    Chaired by Jon Snow, Channel 4 News, and introduced by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. Panellists to be confirmed. Includes a private view of the exhibition from 19.00, with the debate beginning at 20.00.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission  


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  • Changing public dialogues with museum collections in the digital age

    Changing public dialogues with museum collections in the digital age

    Thursday 16 October 2014, doors open 18.30 for debate starting at 19.00
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £5, Members/concessions £3

    A panel of architects, designers and historians will discuss how rapid changes in digital technology potentially pose the biggest challenge and opportunity for museums to consider how the public interacts with collections – and how that might impact on physical spaces. 


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  • Evening Standard Homes & Property event

    Evening Standard Homes & Property event

    Thursday 16 October 2014, 18.30 for 18.45
    Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery
    £20 per person including exhibition entry, glass of wine and nibbles and British Museum tote bag, plus 10% discount on the evening in the British Museum shop

    This major exhibition will explore a golden age in China’s history. Between AD 1400 and 1450, China was a global superpower run by one family – the Ming dynasty – who established Beijing as the capital and built the Forbidden City. China also led the world in terms of maritime expansion and absorbed many fascinating influences along the way. The exhibition will feature some of the most beautiful objects ever made, drawn from museums across China and the world. Highlights include paintings, jewellery and furniture – even a pair of imperial chopsticks – all telling the stories of this most dynamic of ruling families. If there's one period of Chinese history you really should learn more about, this is a great place to start. The porcelain is just the beginning.

    Up to 100 Evening Standard readers can drinks in the British Museum’s new Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery. There, they will receive an introduction to the major autumn exhibition, The BP exhibition, Ming: 50 years that changed China by the exhibition’s curator, Jessica Harrison-Hall. Finally, they will be invited to view the exhibition and see for themselves the spectacular range of objects from museums across China and the world, many of which have only recently been discovered.

    Important – Event entry will be strictly via the Museum’s North entrance only (Montague Place off Russell Square).  


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  • Germany's sense of itself and the world's sense of Germany

    Germany's sense of itself and the world's sense of Germany

    Friday 23 January 2015, 19.00-20.30
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £10, Members/concessions £8

    Over the past 20 years Germany has made its presence felt on the world stage, with decisive interventions in the Euro crisis and its new willingness to deploy its army abroad. This panel discussion will examine how Germany’s sense of itself and the world’s sense of Germany are changing. Panellists include Neal Ascherson, who was the Observer’s Central Europe correspondent from 1963 to 1969, and Christopher Clark, historian and author of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. Chaired by the London Review of Books’ publisher, Nicholas Spice.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


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  • Global China: past and present

    Global China: past and present

    Friday 5 December 2014, 18.30
    Stevenson Lecture Theatre
    £5, Members/concessions £3

    The Ming period saw the creation of institutions and political centres that would help define Chinese governance and culture for generations. As we embark on a period in which China’s economy and trade will lead global markets, this panel discussion examines the country’s global role today, and how other nations might develop in relation to China. The discussion will be chaired by Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, University of Oxford.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


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  • Highlights Tour: around the world in 90 minutes

    Highlights Tour: around the world in 90 minutes

    Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11.30 and 14.00
    Tours commence at the Information Desk
    £12 per person, children under 12 with an accompanying adult free

    Explore the British Museum’s most famous treasures with an illuminating 90-minute guided tour. Discover the Rosetta Stone, the Lewis Chessmen and the Parthenon sculptures, as well as some lesser-known but fascinating objects, with expert guidance that will take you to the heart of the Museum’s collection.

    The tour is for adults, but children under 12 are free (when accompanied by an adult). The tour will visit a number of galleries on different floors of the Museum and involves a lot of walking. 


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  • Laurence Binyon: curator, war poet and remembrance

    Laurence Binyon: curator, war poet and remembrance

    Tuesday 11 November 2014, 14.30-15.30 and 16.00-17.00
    Room 90
    Free, booking essential

    (Robert) Laurence Binyon (1869–1943) was a distinguished war poet and a curator at the British Museum, interested in European, Chinese and Japanese prints and drawings. He is best known for his poem from For the Fallen and the lines recited at occasions of remembrance:
    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.

    This special event, behind the scenes in the Print Room where Binyon once worked, shows catalogues, prints and drawings associated with his curatorial work. 


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  • Mummies (and daddies and carers!) view of Ancient lives, new discoveries

    Mummies (and daddies and carers!) view of Ancient lives, new discoveries

    Tuesday 9 September 2014, 10.00-12.00
    Room 5
    £10, Under 16s free, booking essential

    We are delighted to offer a dedicated time for parents and carers to visit this groundbreaking exhibition of eight mummies from ancient Egypt and Sudan.

    On this exclusive morning you won’t feel pressured to keep your kids quiet, you can meet other parents and carers who want to experience a bit of culture, and you’ll have the time to explore this fascinating new exhibition. You’ll also be able to hear from the Exhibition Curator, who will introduce you to the intriguing stories of these mummies.

    You will be able to take your buggy into the exhibition space or leave it in our buggy park. There will be baby changing and feeding facilities, as well as space reserved for you to have tea and coffee. You are more than welcome to feed babies in the Museum, and there are some private rooms for feeding if you prefer. You’ll also be treated to a complimentary cup of tea or coffee, and the cafés will be open throughout the day if you need to buy snacks or drinks.

    Please note, although you need to select a timeslot to book, attendees will be able to arrive at any point between 10.00 and 12.00 for admission to the exhibition. 


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  • Perfect timing: inside clocks and watches

    Perfect timing: inside clocks and watches

    Tuesday 23 September 2014, 13.30 & 15.00
    Meet at the Information Desk
    Free, booking essential

    Paul Buck and Oliver Cooke, British Museum, introduce the inner mechanisms and design of clocks and watches from the 16th to the early 18th centuries using examples in the British Museum's collection, offering the opportunity to see the inner workings of historic pieces and discover how the art of timekeeping developed.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission  


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  • Poetry in music: German Enlightenment and Romanticism

    Poetry in music: German Enlightenment and Romanticism

    Saturday 17 January 2015, 14.30-15.45
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £5, Members/concessions £3

    Goethe and Schiller wrote the words that helped shape the German Enlightenment. Schubert and Beethoven composed music that responded to this, transforming the relationship between words and music forever. Richard Stokes, Royal Academy of Music and author of The Book of Lieder, and pianist Sholto Kynoch, examine these works and the relationship between these four towering figures, which encapsulated friendship, rivalry, admiration and disdain.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


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  • Poetry in music: Heinrich Heine and German identity

    Poetry in music: Heinrich Heine and German identity

    Saturday 24 January 2015, 14.30-15.45
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £5, Members/concessions £3

    ‘Where words leave off, music begins’ wrote poet Heinrich Heine. His poems inspired some of the greatest songs by Schubert, Schumann and many others. Writer, musicologist and broadcaster Gavin Plumley uses settings of Heine by various composers as a starting point for a discussion of German identity, political upheaval and artistic freedom, illustrated by music performed by singers accompanied by pianist Sholto Kynoch.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


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  • Tastes of Ming China

    Tastes of Ming China

    Friday 14 November 2014, 19.00-20.00
    BP Lecture Theatre
    Free, booking essential

    Fuchsia Dunlop, award-winning cook and food writer specialising in Chinese cuisine, explores regional dishes that have roots in the Ming period, tracing tastes and techniques from early 15th-century Chinese recipes. Fuchsia is the author of four books, including Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China and Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking. Her work has appeared in the Financial Times, Observer Food Monthly and the New Yorker, and she consults for Barshu restaurant in London.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


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  • The Weird Sisters with RIFT theatre company

    The Weird Sisters with RIFT theatre company

    Friday 10 October 2014, 18.30-20.00
    Room 90
    Free, booking essential

    An opportunity to spend an evening in the exhibition Witches and wicked bodies with a drink, and join theatre company RIFT for an evening of tricks, tales and supernatural talismans. Following their sell-out overnight run of Shakespeare’s Macbeth over the summer, RIFT explore Shakespeare’s most interpretable and intriguing characters – the weird sisters.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


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  • Times+ breakfast: Ming: 50 years that changed China

    Times+ breakfast: Ming: 50 years that changed China

    Saturday 4 October, 9.00
    Great Court Restaurant then Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery
    £30.00 per person

    Breakfast, Curator’s introduction to The BP exhibition: Ming 50 years that changed China and exhibition view

    Up to 100 Times Plus subscribers can enjoy a continental breakfast including a glass of Bucks Fizz in the Museum’s Great Court Restaurant. There, they will receive an introduction to the Museum’s autumn exhibition, The BP exhibition, Ming: 50 years that changed China by the exhibition’s curator, Jessica Harrison-Hall. Finally, Times Plus members will be invited to view the exhibition and see for themselves the spectacular range of objects from museums across China and the world, many of which have only recently been discovered. 


    Book now

  • Why does the period 1400-1450 matter in world history?

    Why does the period 1400-1450 matter in world history?

    Friday 21 November 2014, 18.30
    BP Lecture Theatre
    £5, Members/concessions £3

    It can be argued that the early Ming period was China’s ‘Renaissance’. This discussion, chaired by Dora Thornton, Curator of Renaissance Collections at the British Museum, will examine the early 15th century from eastern and western perspectives. Full panel details available on the website.

    Please arrive punctually to guarantee admission. 


    Book now



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