Teaching from the Collections, an engraving
London, England, AD 1881
Reproduced in the Illustrated London News
The Clore Centre for Education follows a long association with education at The British Museum. As early as the 1820s the Museum saw the need to inform its visitors and to use the collections as teaching aids. Increasingly, objects were displayed and labelled in order to help the visitor learn about other cultures. By the 1830s some Museum staff were teaching outside the Museum at Working Mens' Institutes. Later, gallery talks and lectures were arranged within the Museum. The British Museum's first lecture theatre was opened in the Assyrian Basement during the early 1890s.
In this print of 1881 we see a visiting lecturer. She is talking to adults and children about the Greek and Roman sculpture collections. Behind her, artists sketch at their easels. Beyond, visitors enjoy the Assyrian and Egyptian collections.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, official guide lecturers gave regular talks about the collections. Sometimes lectures were illustrated by 'magic lantern' slides. Today, as then, the latest technology is used to help visitors to study and learn about the collections.