A dark brown bronze statue of Lilith with piercing green eyes

What’s on at the British Museum in 2022?

Publication date: 18 October 2021

Get a sneak peek at the British Museum's 2022 special exhibitions as we take a first look at our shows on Stonehenge, hieroglyphs and feminine power.

What's on at the British Museum in 2022?

'Next year we will explore some of our deepest history, from ancient Britain, the story of feminine power across the ages, through to the unlocking of ancient Egypt's written history. These world-class shows will explore familiar stories anew, reaching into the past to bring to life the origins of where we come from. Our exhibitions programme allows us to collaborate with museums and communities from across the world, share skills and knowledge and learn more about the Museum's collection. We look forward to welcoming you to the Museum soon.' – Hartwig Fischer, Director.

Get a taste of what's on in 2022 below. Check back here for further updates, or sign up to our emails to be the first to know when tickets go on sale.

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Special exhibitions

Peru: a journey in time

11 November 2021 – 20 February 2022
The Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery, Room 35

Gold llama figure turned three-quarters to the viewer, against white background
A miniature gold figure of a llama, Inca, AD 1400–1532.

 

Immerse yourself in the fascinating story of Peru in this special exhibition, which takes you from the rugged Pacific coastline to the highest Andean peaks, covering thousands of years of history along the way.

Through a huge range of objects including pottery, textiles, metalwork and more – many on loan from Peru – this show highlights the history, beliefs and cultural achievements of the different peoples who lived here from around 2500 BC to the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s, and their legacy in the centuries that followed.

Find out more about Peru: a journey in time

Supported by PROMPERÚ

Organised with the Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru


Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything

30 September 2021 – 30 January 2022
Room 90

Drawing showing figure of Devadatta on left, holding sword in right hand, left hand outstretched towards demons and evil spirits in background
Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), Devadatta surrounded by evil spirits, from Banmotsu ehon daizen zu (Illustrations for The Great Picture Book of Everything). Block-ready drawing, ink on paper, Japan, 1820s–40s. Purchase funded by the Theresia Gerda Buch Bequest, in memory of her parents Rudolph and Julie Buch, with support from Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation).

 

Hokusai is one of Japan's most famous artists, best known for his prints including the iconic The Great Wave. This exhibition shines a light on a group of 103 recently acquired drawings by the artist that were intended for an encyclopedia called The Great Picture Book of Everything. It was never published, escaping the woodblock printing process that would normally have destroyed hand-drawn works like these.

Together, they help reveal more about the artist's working process and life in 19th-century Japan. Get up close to these amazing drawings – on display for the first time – and learn more about Hokusai's famous prints and woodblock printing.

Find out more about Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything

Sponsored by The Asahi Shimbun


The world of Stonehenge

17 February – 17 July 2022
The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, Room 30

Photo courtesy of the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt, Juraj Lipták.
Nebra Sky Disc, Germany, about 1600 BC. Photo courtesy of the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt, Juraj Lipták.
 

Shrouded in layers of speculation and folklore, Stonehenge is perhaps the world's most awe-inspiring ancient stone circle, and its image is famous around the globe.

This major exhibition is the first of its kind in the UK. It will bring the story of Stonehenge into sharper focus, showing that rather than a shadowy age of mystery, the Britain and Ireland of four millennia ago were places of big ideas, commerce and travel.

You'll journey back to the time of its construction around 3000–2500 BC, and with the help of objects from across Europe – including stone axes from the North Italian Alps and stunning metalwork from Ireland – the world of Stonehenge will be illuminated like never before.

Find out more about The world of Stonehenge

Supported by bp

Organised with the State Museum of Prehistory, Halle/Saale, Germany


Feminine power: the divine to the demonic

19 May – 25 September 2022
The Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery, Room 35

A stone relief depicting a female figure with headdress and feathered wings, bird-talon feet. She stands on two lions. Owls stand in bottom corners.
Old Babylonian Queen of the Night plaque. South Iraq, 19th–18th centuries BC.
 

From the divine to the demonic, the representation of feminine power in world belief and mythology has played – and continues to play – an important role in shaping global cultural attitudes towards women and gender identity.

This exhibition will bring together ancient sculpture, sacred objects and contemporary art from five continents to explore the diversity of ways in which femininity has been perceived across the globe, from the ancient world to today. The show will explore the embodiment of feminine power in deities, goddesses, spirits and other beings associated with diverse areas of human experience from wisdom, passion and nature, to war, mercy and justice.

Featuring prominent guest contributors, the exhibition will take a closer look at the formation of cultural attitudes towards female authority and ideas about gender identity.

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Find out more about Feminine power: the divine to the demonic

Supported by citi


Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt | British Museum

October 2022 – February 2023
The Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, Room 30

 

The decoding of hieroglyphs in the early 19th century was the key to unlocking ancient Egypt, opening up one of the longest chapters of human history which had previously been cloaked in mystery.

The decryption of hieroglyphs changed our understanding of history – allowing documents and architecture to speak again, and revealing how ancient Egyptians lived, worshipped, and viewed the world and their place within it.

This exhibition will look closely at just how hieroglyphs were deciphered, and the impact of this in later understandings of ancient Egypt.

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Find out more about Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt | British Museum

Supported by bp


Free exhibitions and displays

The Asahi Shimbun Displays

Contemporary women artists of Japan: six stories

2 December 2021 – 13 February 2022
Room 3

Sculpture in the form of a leaf and boat made of coloured glass, gold and platinum leaf
Yamamoto Akane (b. 1977), Leaf Boat. Glass and platinum leaf, 2019. © Yamamoto Akane.
 

Through a selection of visually striking objects from the Museum's Japanese collection, this display explores the personal experiences and expressive visions of six internationally acclaimed female artists from the 1960s to the 2010s. The objects include photobooks, prints, a painting and a glass sculpture.

While each of the artists' stories is unique – as daughters, mothers, wives, single women, sisters and friends – their works share a quiet sense of self-possession, suggesting ways women navigate their paths through life in Japanese society.

Find out more about Contemporary women artists of Japan six stories | British Museum

Supported by The Asahi Shimbun


We look forward to seeing you at the Museum soon!

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Can't get to London? The Museum has a number of touring exhibitions, loans and partnership galleries which you can see at our partner venues – find out what's on in the UK and around the world.