A black textile adorned with a colourful scene, including sitting figures surrounded by trees, a figure shooting an arrow towards the sky, and  Hanuman flying through the air carrying a rock, Hanuman (possibly carrying the Mountain of Herbs or Building the Bridge to Lanka), and Hanuman talking to a sage (with two hares below).

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 Feminine power: the divine to the demonic, The world of Stonehenge or Peru: a journey in time.

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.

2023 Free exhibitions and displays

5 October 2023 – 1 April 2024

Gesture and line: four post-war German and Austrian artists

This display explored the work of four artists who spearheaded the practice of drawing in the post-war years.

5 October 2023 – 1 April 2024

Superb line: prints and drawings from Genoa 1500–1800

Showcasing prints and drawings from Genoa's golden age, this display shone a light on an artistic powerhouse that rivalled Venice, Florence and Rome.

19 October 2023 – 17 December 2023

Making their mark: women silversmiths from Oman

This display explored the stories of three women who are helping to revive the longstanding tradition of silversmithing in Oman.

19 September – 28 January 2024

Ed Ruscha roads and insects

This display of prints by American artist Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) focused on his prevailing interest in the physical world around him.

19 September – 28 January 2024

The genius of nature botanical drawings by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues

This display reveled in the beauty of nature, showing works by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues – one of the most gifted botanical artists of his age.

27 July – 24 September 2023

Perilous journeys: reflections on migration

These works by contemporary artists from Nigeria and Mexico reflected on the loss of people and culture through the impact of human trafficking and unsafe migration.

5 June – 17 September 2023

Leon Golub and Nancy Spero: the Jon Bird gift

This display presented nine works on paper by the American artists Leon Golub (1922–2004) and Nancy Spero (1926–2009), highlighting the couple's deep engagement with social and political causes over 50 years.

5 June – 17 September 2023

David Jones (1895–1974): the Stanley and Jacqueline Honeyman bequest

This display celebrated a bequest of six drawings by David Jones, an artist and poet with a deep and enduring interest in mythology, theology and the cultural history of Britain.

30 March – 10 September 2023

New acquisitions: Paul Bril to Wendy Red Star

This display showcased more than 100 works of art from the 16th century to the present from Europe, North America and Australasia.

20 April – 2 July 2023

Japan's festival floats

This display celebrated Japan's spectacular local festivals and featured a beautifully crafted model of a festival float. 

23 February – 26 March 2023

The Bakor monoliths: endangered heritage

In this exhibition the spotlight fell on the elaborately carved ancestral stone sculptures found in the Ikom region of Cross River State in Nigeria, highlighting the environmental, economic and cultural threats to their preservation. 

23 January – 4 June 2023

Venice 1500: Jacopo de' Barbari and the rise of printmaking

This display showcased the innovation and variety of printmaking in Venice during the High Renaissance.

23 January – 4 June 2023

Klaus Friedeberger drawings from an Australian Internment

The drawings and watercolours in this display recorded daily life in an internment camp in outback Australia in the 1940s. 

2022 Free exhibitions and displays

1 December 2022 – 29 January 2023

Tutankhamun reimagined

Egyptian graffiti artist Nofal O responded to Tutankhamun's legacy with a powerful display painted directly onto the walls of Room 3.  

27 October 2022 – 18 February 2024

Artists making books: poetry to politics

Whether subverting, inverting, celebrating or exploding – this intriguing show explored the history of artists taking on the medium of books.

3 October – 13 November 2022

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.

22 September 2022 – 5 March 2023

Art on paper since 1960: the Hamish Parker collection

From Lucian Freud to Kiki Smith, life drawing to minimalism and etching to collage, this exhibition spanned an intriguing range of styles and techniques used in art on paper from 1960 to 2017.

6 September 2022 – 22 January 2023

Two million prints online for all

For 30 years, a small team individually catalogued one of the world's greatest collections of works on paper, bringing together this unique display.

25 August – 23 October 2022

Shattered glass of Beirut

This display followed the story of eight ancient glass vessels, from their destruction in the 2020 Beirut explosion to their restoration. 

17 May – 4 September 2022

The woodpecking factory: Victorian illustrations by the Brothers Dalziel

This intriguing display highlighted over 50 works engraved on wood by the Brothers Dalziel firm, a Victorian wood-engraving company.

17 March – 28 August 2022

Printmaking in Prague: art from the court of Rudolf II

Visitors learned about printmaking in Rudolf's court in Prague during the highpoint of innovative and ambitious prints.

17 March – 28 August 2022

Drawing attention: emerging British artists

This exhibition displayed emerging talents in the field of contemporary drawing alongside highlights from the Museum's collection.

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.

27 October 2021 – 18 September 2022

Life in a cup: coffee culture in the Islamic world

'Life in a cup' presented a fascinating story and explored the traditions that make coffee a way of life in parts of the Islamic world.

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.