The British Museum
across the UK.

The British Museum is a museum of the citizen – its collection is for the whole of the UK. From Aberdeen to Anglesey, Belfast to Blackburn, Perth to Penzance, thousands of objects are lent to other museums and galleries every year. In 2015/16, 7.7 million visitors saw British Museum objects on display in museums and galleries across the UK.

Watch the recap

The British Museum lends more objects more widely than any other museum in the world.

Partnerships are fundamental to the vision of the British Museum as a national collection – a museum of the citizen, accessible to the broadest audience. Partnerships with 250 organisations across the UK make the Museum’s collection and expertise available to the widest possible audience.

How this is achieved was a major theme of 2014’s Museum of the future – a public discussion which asked big questions about the future, from how the building is used to how the Museum connects with visitors locally and internationally.

This year, Museum of the citizen explored in more depth how the British Museum works in partnership with UK museums and galleries, the value this brings to local communities, and what future partnerships might look like.

Aberdeen. Aberystwyth. Anglesey. Bath. Belfast. Bexhill-on-Sea. Birmingham. Bristol. Bury St Edmunds. Cardiff. Carlisle. Cheltenham. Chepstow. Chichester. Compton Verney. Darlington. Derby. Derry. Dover. Durham. Edinburgh. Exeter. Gateshead. Glasgow. Hartlepool. Holywood. Inverness. Ipswich. Isle of Wight. Jarrow. Kendal. Kingston-upon-Thames. Leeds. Leicester. Lewes. Lichfield. Liverpool. Llandudno. Llanfairpwll. London. Manchester. Milton Keynes. Newbury. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Northampton. Norwich. Nottingham. Orkney. Oxford. Penzance. Perth. Plymouth. Portsmouth. Preston. Reading. Richmond. Rochdale. Rotherham. Salisbury. Scarborough. Scunthorpe. Sheffield. South Shields. Southampton. Southport. Stratford-upon-Avon. Stroud. Sudbury. Sunderland. Thetford. Truro. Walsall. Welshpool. Winchester. Wirral. Woking. Worthing. York and more...

We held a public discussion about the value of British Museum partnerships across the UK. Join the conversation on the road or online.

Norwich Castle

Organised in partnership between the British Museum and Norfolk Museums Service, Museum of the citizen in Norwich focused on Norfolk’s internationally important tourism offer, including the developing Deep History Coast partnership and the growing links between the museum sector and the creative industries in the East of England.

Thursday 19 November, 14.00–16.00
The British Museum

The final Museum of the citizen event was held at the British Museum. Chaired by Dame Liz Forgan and featuring author and playwright Bonnie Greer, the panel discussion explored in depth how the British Museum works in partnership with 250 UK museums and galleries, the value this brings to local communities, and what future partnerships might look like.

4 March 2016, 18.30–20.00
St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Glasgow

Who do we make museums for – and how do we do it? How do we know what visitors want and need? How do those people get involved in decision-making? Our penultimate Museum of the citizen event took us to Glasgow for a discussion exploring the vital ingredients required for effective public engagement and meaningful community partnerships.

Friday 26 February 2016
Manchester Museum

In Manchester we celebrated our partnership with Manchester Museum, which will see the development of a new South Asia Gallery in 2020 – the first of its kind in the UK, and the British Museum’s largest partnership gallery to date. The Gallery aims to tell the cultural histories of South Asia in close consultation with local communities and the wider diaspora.

Friday 4 December, 12.00–14.00
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

Museum of the citizen: Leicester tackled the theme of ‘Young Citizens’. Areas of discussion included how museums can help young people to find a sense of place and identity, Leicester’s commitment to supporting young people, creating a vibrant place to live, and how working in partnership with the British Museum helps to achieve these aims.

Friday 13 November, 17.30–19.30

Sikh Fortress Turban
Punjab, India, late 19th century

This year the British Museum loaned 3,000 objects to 170 partner venues across the UK.

Our Sikh fortress turban spotlight tour has been our most popular, reaching over 250,000 visitors and nine museums across the country. The tour ended in September 2015.

Easter Island Statue
Lewis Chessmen
The Holcombe Mirror

Reflections on Celts, a spotlight tour in partnership with National Museums Scotland, will see the British Museum’s Holcombe mirror travel to Newark, Littlehampton, the Scottish Borders, Inverness and Dundee.

Image Staffordshire Moorlands Pan

Next image The Vale of York Hoard

Helping the public discover Britain’s national treasure

I was holding the detector and it went beep, beep, beep. Then we dug into the mud. There was gold there.

James Hyatt, 8, Essex

More than one million objects, from hoards of Viking silver to Jacobean tableware, have been recorded through the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The Vale of York Hoard
Marcus Aurelius Bust
The one millionth find

Limestone statue of Katep and Hetepheres
Possibly from Giza, Egypt 5th or 6th Dynasty, around 2300 BC

Sharing the knowledge of our staff.

What I wanted from Future Curators was the opportunity to develop subject-specific knowledge, to gain experience in larger museums – all things I had the chance to do during my placements.

Future Curator Trainee
Knowledge Exchange Partnerships

The British Museum is building networks of knowledge through partnerships that enable the sharing of skills and expertise. The Knowledge Exchange programme, coordinated by the British Museum and supported by the Vivmar Foundation, enables the Museum to partner with a range of museums across the UK, to create professional exchanges that respond to current sector challenges and opportunities.

This year the British Museum is working with: the Bowes Museum, County Durham; Compton Verney, Warwickshire; Poole Museum​, Dorset; University of Nottingham Museum and Djanogly Gallery​; and William Morris Gallery, London.

Learning Museum

Between 2014 and 2017, the British Museum’s National Programmes team is working with a new group of 20 partner museums for Learning Museum, a Skills for the Future programme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The programme aims to provide young people from diverse backgrounds with high-quality entry-level vocational training, champion best practice in museum collections and development, and create a strong professional network for the next generation of museum workers and trainees across the UK.

Future Curators and Museum Pathways

With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the British Museum has been working in partnership with museums across the UK since 2011 to deliver Skills for the Future training programmes for a diverse range of participants.

Future Curators was a unique and exciting project which offered trainees the opportunity to spend a total of 18 months with UK museums, gaining in-depth knowledge of the museum sector and an accredited diploma in curatorship. From 2011-2015 a total of 15 trainees spent six months on placement at the British Museum and a further 12 months at a partner museum, working as a valuable addition and active member of both organisations.

The second project, Museum Pathways, provided entry-level vocational training in museums across Greater London. From 2014-2016 a cohort of seven trainees spent 18 months with a London museum and the British Museum, where they gained skills in practical collections management, care and access and worked towards a vocational qualification in Cultural Heritage. The programme was designed for people with little or no experience of working in a museum or archive, with the aim of providing them with the necessary skills to start a heritage career and make an informed decision about their future career direction.

The British Museum's Knowledge Exchange programme has created nearly 70 five-day professional exchanges to date, enabling the sharing of skills and expertise with partner organisations

A Credit Card
Object no. 99 from A History of the World in 100 objects, the British Museum’s multi-part podcast with BBC Radio 4, narrated by Neil MacGregor.
Listen to the podcast.

Bringing a global collection to local audiences through technology.

The British Museum is undergoing a historic once in a lifetime transformation, from being a physical place to a digitally connected place.

Chris Michaels
Head of Digital, The British Museum

4,500+ objects from the British Museum can now be explored in Google's Cultural Institute

Discover the British Museum with Google

Virtual exhibits in the Google Cultural Institute detail Egypt’s history after the pharaohs, and show Celtic objects from across UK museums. We’ve also captured the whole Museum via Street View, meaning that if you can’t get to the Museum in person, you can do a virtual walking tour of every permanent gallery, and all its outdoor buildings.

‘The Museum of the World’ microsite features some of the most fascinating objects in human history. The interactive desktop experience uses the most advanced WebGL (Web Graphics Library) technology available, allowing users to jump back in time, listen to curators and connect objects across time and space. Best viewed in Chrome.

View Gallery

Building the British Museum in the computer game Minecraft is an ongoing digital experiment. The idea was first announced in 2014 via a reddit page, inviting people to take part in the build. Since then, a global community has galvanized around the project, as people all over the world offer their building skills.

Given the fascinating architectural history of the building, the build should represent something of a challenge for even the most devoted Minecraft players. However, with the project still in its early stages, the plan is to start small. Depending on how many people sign up (and their skill level), the project could potentially expand construction to multiple rooms, galleries and objects.


MicroPasts is a collaboration between the British Museum and UCL that brings together academic researchers, volunteers and the public to crowd-source the recording of archaeological finds, history and heritage. Enthusiasts (of any background) can create high-quality research data together, and collaboratively design and fund entirely new research projects. These range from enriching old photographic archives, to creating 3D models of archaeological artefacts, some of which are available to download on 3D modelling site Sketchfab.

One of the largest pieces of Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum, this statue shows Ramesses II, who succeeded his father Sethos I in around 1279 BC and ruled Egypt for 67 years.

A History of the World in 100 objects, written and narrated by British Museum Director Neil MacGregor, has been downloaded 45 million times.