British Museum Wins

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel news

Earlier this week, the British Museum won the Art Fund Prize of £100,000.
You will remember that there were three finalists apart from the BM; the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the Polar Research Museum and the Roman Baths in Bath. The reason for the BM’s success this year is largely due to the ambitious undertaking of its 100 part series of Radio 4. This told the history of the world in 100 objects, those all being selected from its collection.
Some have said that its yet another award to a London based museum which is unfair on two grounds. The first is that the Art Fund prize hasn’t been won by a museum in the captial for a number of years and secondly because although the BM won this prize, it had the help and support of another 550 museums around our countries to help sell the story to all who visited them. In many ways the Art Fund prize has gone to not one but all of those because when people heard the Radio 4 programme, their local museum (if it was amongst the 550) was the benefactor as well. This time it really is a national prize.
The British Museum is free, as are all national museums, so if you’re visiting or live in London it is always worth a visit. At present, the exhibition on Afghanistan continues until the middle of next month (free only to members.) With an emphasis on Australia, the BM has two parallel and free exhibitions running until September. Out of Australia is about Australian art since WWII so it includes the growth of native Australian art which has mushroomed to an astonishing degree. Rarely seen outside their own areas pre-war, it drifted to the cities in the 1940’s and 1950’s. By the time the 1970’s and 1980’s came it was big business. Children in Australian schools hear the stories of the bushrangers (highwaymen equivalents) and none more than Ned Kelly who wore a metal helmet like an upturned paint pot on his head with a slit for his eyes. The famous Sidney Nolan drawing should be a big feature with kids but be prepared to tell them the story of his exploits.
Side-by-side with this is the other Australian exhibition which is about the bags and containers which native Australians make. These aren’t so widespread in the tourist shops in Australia so it is unusual to see them. The exhibition includes 60, some of which you can bet will be copied and used as ideas by modern designers.
As I said, these exhibitions run until September.

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