The History of the World in 100 Objects

Two-Headed Serpent, detail
While doing some research earlier today, I came across a fascinating project undertaken by the British Museum called “The History of the World in 100 Objects.” Many of you may already be familiar with this project, as I’ve come to find out the results of this project were broadcast on the BBC throughout 2010 as well as in a book that was published a mere 4 days ago.

For those of you not familiar with this project, its goal was to tell the history of the world through 100 objects found in the British Museum’s sprawling collections. Taking 100 curators 4 years to complete, the results include objects that embody themes ranging to political power to everyday life. To coincide with the project, the public was invited to share stories of objects that hold¬†significance¬†to them.

100 objects to tell the history of the world is a daunting task to be sure, but it raises some important questions. Why is one object more important than another? Are aesthetics or usefulness considered more important? What are these objects telling us now that may not have been appreciated in its time?

If you’d like to start your own “100 Objects” project, you can do so in ARTstor by creating image groups. If you’d like to make this a class assigment, you can do so by either creating a folder that your students can edit, or creating a folder that has student folders enabled.

More resources:

Stuff that Defines Us by Carol Vogel

History of the World in 100 Objects Slideshow by the New York Times

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