I visited the British Museum’s website using this link: http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us.aspx?ref=header.
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After going through the page, I found out that the museum engages in many activities. Their main activities include storage of ancient and new discoveries, exhibitions, providing training in collaboration with African museums, and offering international training programs for individuals who wish to be museum professionals.
The exhibition that appealed to me was “Vikings: life and legend.” The British Museum carried out this exhibition on 22 March 2014. The National Museum of Denmark and the National Museums of Berlin took part in organizing this exhibition. The exhibition mainly focused on the Age of the Vikings and served as the opening ceremony for the Sainsbury Gallery of Exhibitions. The link to the exhibition is http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/news_and_press/press_releases/2014/vikings.aspx.
The theme of the exhibition was “Vikings: life and legend.” It explored the rapid expansion of the Viking Empire and their cultural influence in Europe. It showcased their discoveries, artifacts, and other ancient objects. The exhibition took advantage of recent research and archaeological findings to describe the expansion of the Vikings Empire in the 8th century. The Vikings had extra-ordinary abilities in building ships. These abilities were very critical in the expansion of their territory.
The main artwork on display at the Sansbury Exhibitions Gallery was a very long warship. The Museum of Denmark stores about 20% of the whole ship. The Vikings used to call it Roskilde 6. The museum put together the ship’s remains with other materials and re-erected the warship. Archaeologists date the building of the ship to AD 1025, when the Viking Empire was very strong.
The museum also displayed the Vale of York Hoard. The hoard contained six rings, bullion silver, and 617 coins. The components of the hoard showed the extensive network of the Vikings. It contained coins from almost all the parts of Europe and Asia. These coins indicated their contact with other Europeans.
Other items on display included gold and silver jewelry, which represented status among the Vikings. A silver hoard, which the museum borrowed from Gnezdovo, was also at the exhibition. This hoard also served as evidence of the interactions between the Vikings and other groups of people from all over Europe.
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The artworks on display did not belong to one artist. They belonged to the entire Vikings Empire. The Vikings were very skilled at shipbuilding and jewelry. However, sometimes they took the jewelry from the people they conquered. They also bought some jewelry from other groups of people in Europe.
The artwork that appealed to me was African rock art. The British Museum has many paintings and engravings that Africans made many centuries ago. It acquires most of them through collaborating with the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA). These items interested me due to the quality of skill that Africans employed in coming up with them. I had never known that Africans could develop such art during a period when formal education had not reached their continent. They mostly made the paintings and carvings on rocks, but the museum has some gourds and musical instruments that also have the paintings. African painters and carvers mostly painted and carved animals and human beings. They painted and carved in colors that closely resembled the natural colors of the items. The images show men and women dressed like ancient Africans.