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Past exhibitions

Take a look at our past exhibitions and enjoy the articles, videos and photo galleries still available to view online.

Take an online tour of The world of Stonehenge, Peru: a journey in time or Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything.

From Arctic: culture and climate to Troy: myth and reality, explore the exciting back catalogue of exhibitions and displays held here at the British Museum.

2022 Free exhibitions and displays

2 June – 31 July 2022

Mary Gillick: modelling The Queen's portrait

In 1952, the young Queen Elizabeth II sat down to have her profile immortalised, for the first time, on British currency – this display revealed the artist and the process behind the portrait.

2 February – 15 May 2022

Raphael and his school: drawing connections

Following the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael, visitors were invited to experience the Italian Renaissance master's exquisite drawings and trace his influence through the work of his pupils.

10 March – 8 May 2022

Greek Revival: simplicity and splendour

This free display in Room 3 explored more about the rise of Greek Revival architecture through contemporary watercolours and contextual images.

2021 Free exhibitions and displays

2 December 2021 – 13 February 2022

Contemporary women artists of Japan: six stories

This display explored the experiences and expressive visions of internationally acclaimed Japanese women artists from the 1960s to the 2010s.

6 September – 13 October 2021

Raphael: emerging artists respond

Marking the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death, emerging artists responded to one of the Renaissance master's spectacular drawings.

24 August 2021 – 30 January 2022

Enticing Peaks: Swiss prints from the Lloyd Bequest

This exhibition presented a selection of the finest prints from Robert Wylie Lloyd's (1868–1958) collection revealing his admiration for the Alpine landscape.

17 May – 15 August 2021

Reflections: contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa

This display weaved together a rich tapestry of artistic expression from artists born in, or connected to, countries from Iran to Morocco.

2020 Free exhibitions and displays

27 Aug 2020 – 12 Jan 2021

Edmund de Waal: library of exile

Created as a 'space to sit and read and be', library of exile is an installation by British artist and writer, Edmund de Waal, housing more than 2,000 books in translation, written by exiled authors.

27 Aug 2020 – 10 Jan 2021

Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

Grayson Perry's playful memorial to the unnamed craftsmen and women who made some of the wonders of history.

6 Mar 2020 – 10 Jan 2021

Geoffrey Clarke: a sculptor's studio

This display celebrated a bequest of works from the studio of the prolific post-war sculptor, Geoffrey Clarke RA (1924–2014).

20 Feb 2020 – 10 Jan 2021

Piranesi drawings: visions of antiquity

Step back in time with this landmark display of drawings by Neoclassicist printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

20 Feb 2020 – 10 Jan 2021

French Impressions: prints from Manet to Cézanne

Explore the flourishing Impressionist print movement of late 19th century France.

14 Jan 2020 – 5 Mar 2020

Living with art: Picasso to Celmins

Spanning almost one hundred years of modern art, this display showcased Alexander Walker's collection of contemporary prints and drawings. 

2019 Free exhibitions and displays

19 Dec 2019 – 23 Feb 2020

Disposable? Rubbish and us

This exhibition considered the historical creation of single-use and repurposed objects.

14 Oct 2019 – 24 Nov 2019

Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies

A masterpiece of early Chinese figure painting, from the fifth to seventh century AD, displayed annually at the British Museum.

3 Oct 2019 – 29 Mar 2020

Currency in crisis: German emergency money 1914–1924

This exhibition revealed how this temporary currency responded to a national crisis with designs commenting on society and politics.

3 Oct 2019 – 24 Nov 2019

Nara: sacred images from early Japan

This exhibition featured treasures from the great temples and shrines of Nara, and Hōryūji, one of Japan's oldest Buddhist temples.

19 Sep 2019 – 12 Jan 2020

Sir Stamford Raffles: collecting in Southeast Asia 1811–1824

An exhibition of the rich variety of objects from Java and Sumatra collected by Sir Stamford Raffles.

12 Sep 2019 – 12 Jan 2020

Portrait of the artist: Käthe Kollwitz

This show celebrated the humanity and enduring impact of one of the most influential 20th-century printmakers.

12 Sep 2019 – 12 Jan 2020

Pushing paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now

Celebrating the power of contemporary drawing, this display explored how artists have pushed the boundaries of the medium. It's now on tour.

3 Sep 2019 – 12 Nov 2019

John Christian: collecting the last Romantics

A display of works collected by the art historian and curator who contributed to understanding of Pre-Raphaelite and late Victorian art.

19 Jul 2019 – 1 Sep 2019

At home: Royal etchings by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

This collection of rare etchings made by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of family life revealed that the royal couple were talented artists – and more affectionate parents than often thought.

19 Jul 2019 – 1 Sep 2019

Woven in hair: a recent gift of hairwork jewellery

Uncovered: the surprising beauty of jewellery made from human hair and the intimate meaning such pieces had for those who wore them, as friendship, sentimental or memorial tokens. 

19 Jul 2019 – 1 Sep 2019

Yinka Shonibare: Cowboy Angels

In these artworks, Shonibare combines imagery of angels, representations of African masks, cowboy tropes of the American West, and his signature waxprint fabrics. 

20 Jun 2019 – 1 Sep 2019

Collecting histories: Solomon Islands

The artefacts and historical photographs in this display were selected to explain how colonial relationships contributed to the collections of the British Museum. 

18 Apr 2019 – 29 Sep 2019

Playing with money: currency and games

This exhibition looked at how modern board games, educational toys, gambling and role-playing games reflect, inform and shape our understanding of economics and money.

7 Feb 2019 – 4 Aug 2019

The world exists to be put on a postcard: artists' postcards from 1960 to now

Discovered: both the politics and playfulness of a unique collection of 300 postcards gifted to the British Museum.

7 Feb 2019 – 4 Aug 2019

Rembrandt: thinking on paper

Comprising 65 prints and drawings, this stunning exhibition highlighted Rembrandt's technical and creative ingenuity on paper.

2018 Free exhibitions and displays

29 Nov 2018 – 4 Aug 2019

Reimagining Captain Cook: Pacific perspectives

This exhibition explored the work of contemporary Pacific artists, alongside objects collected on the voyages themselves. 

22 Nov 2018 – 3 Feb 2019

No man's land

This display presented ancient and modern perspectives and attitudes towards the territories, landscapes and man-made borders of the Middle East.

4 Oct 2018 – 14 Apr 2019

Witnesses: émigré medallists in Britain

This exhibition featured a range of medals spanning six centuries, many of which document important historical events and famous figures.

4 Oct 2018 – 27 Jan 2019

New acquisitions: Gozzoli to Kara Walker

This exhibition highlighted a selection of diverse prints and drawings purchased, donated or bequeathed to the Museum.