is the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum?
ten years in the making, the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum
represents the first serious attempt in the United kingdom to present
a publicly accessible history of the British empire and to examine its
continuing impact on Britain and the rest of the world. This was the
largest empire the world has ever known, yet its history is relatively
unknown to most Britons today.
The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum draws upon a wide range
of experiences and divergent opinions about the colonial period. It
presents a history seen from all sides, from explorers to aboriginal
peoples, viceroys to freedom fighters, district officers to indentured
It covers not only the maritime, military and technological triumphs
of empire, but also examines issues such as racism, economic exploitation,
cultural imperialism and slavery. The 500-year history of the British
empire and the modern Commonwealth is presented to the visitor through
twenty themed galleries. The starting point is John Cabot’s voyage
from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497 and the birth of Britain’s
trading empire. The exhibition concludes with an examination of life
in Britain today.
The galleries use a mix of authentic objects, costume, film, photographs
and sound recordings, many never seen before in public. Most are from
the Museum’s archives although much material has been provided
by other institutions such as the British Museum, the National Maritime
Museum and the Science Museum.
The guiding principle is to allow people, whatever their faith or background,
access to a unique shared history. To enable them to make sense of who
they are, where they come from, in order to move confidently into the
future. It is an attempt to invoke a clearer notion of an individual
and collective identity
The permanent exhibition is supported by a major educational programme,
which includes a groundbreaking community radio station facility. Changing
special exhibitions focus in detail on different aspects of the main
displays. The Museum also offers a shop and a cafe.
History of Imperialism in a Global Economy
of Education and Interpretation, British Empire & Commonwealth Museum
click here for more details
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