Hugo Chapman (left) and Sushma Jansari (right) with Nick Kendall (centre) sitting at a table

The British Museum podcast

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The British Museum podcast delves into every aspect of the Museum, from archives to Egyptian black goo, from conservation to Doctor Who, in Bloomsbury and beyond.

Every month Sushma Jansari, Curator of South Asia, and Hugo Chapman, Keeper of Prints and Drawings, chat with colleagues to bring out the history, research and idiosyncrasies of the Museum. 

We also visit the archives with Senior Archivist Francesca Hillier and podcast producer Sian Toogood. In each episode, hear the fascinating and little known stories behind objects from the Museum's collection.

The Museum podcast #20: The Great Court at 20

Dec 2020

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Great Court, Sian and Francesca head to the archives to find out more about the building of this incredible space. Plus, Curator Irving Finkel talks about the history of chess and backgammon.

The Museum podcast episode #19: The Arctic, Renaissance jewels and illicit antiquities

Nov 2020

Hugo and Sushma check in with Amber Lincoln, lead curator of the Citi exhibition Arctic: culture and climate, and talk with Curator Rachel King about the Waddesdon Bequest and a display of a 19th-century ewer.

The Museum Podcast #18: Collection Care, Tantra and a return to the archive

Oct 2020

Head of Collection Care, Sandra Smith, talks about how your breath helps objects in the galleries; Sushma chats with Imma Ramos, lead curator of Tantra: enlightenment to revolution; and Sian and Francesca talk about the staff canteen, of all things.

The Museum podcast #17: National Programmes and afternoon tea

Sept 2020

Sushma talks with Maria Bojanowska about how the British Museum makes the collection accessible nationwide, food historian Tasha Marks takes a look into afternoon tea, and Lead Archaeologist Sebastien Rey tells us which object he is most excited to see at the Museum.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Aug 2020

Hartwig Fischer and Sushma Jansari are joined by guests Olivette Otele and Bonnie Greer. They discuss the legacies of slavery, its impact on today’s society, and how museums should respond to these histories both now and in the future.

The Museum Podcast Special: Sir Hans Sloane

Aug 2020

Guests Miranda Lowe and James Delbourgo join Hartwig Fischer and Sushma Jansari to explore the life, legacy and collection of Sir Hans Sloane. They examine the role of slavery and enslaved people in his collecting practices and consider how museums should respond to these histories.

The Museum podcast #16: Ice cream, olive oil and the Phrygian Sibyl

Jul 2020

This month we're talking food history and Renaissance art. Food historian Tasha Marks delves into the history of ice cream, curator Jamie Fraser talks about olive oil in ancient Levant, and Hugo Chapman marks the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death. 

The Museum podcast #15: The inevitable coronavirus episode

Jun 2020

Leonora Baird Smith explains collection care in lockdown. Dr Janina Ramirez talks about scripting her love letter to the Museum for BBC4, and Clive Gamble examines how humans became a global species using objects to stay connected over long distances.

The Museum podcast #14: Venetian maps and volunteers

May 2020

Hugo, Sushma (pre-furlough) and Sian chat about life in lockdown. Curator Sarah Vowles gives an in-depth insight into the monumental Barbari map of Venice and volunteer Mariu Huriaga talks about 20 years of giving tours at the Museum.

The Museum podcast #13: All about accessibility

Apr 2020

This episode sees the Museum closed for the first time since the war, however, we soldier on. Hugo and Sushma look at an area of work that is dear to all of our hearts: equality and diversity.  

The Museum podcast #12: WOMEN!

Mar 2020

Hugo chats with archaeologist Alexandra (AKA Sally) Fletcher and in the archives, Sian and Francesca discuss some of the earliest female scholars, as well as a libel case involving Victoria Woodhull who ran for the American Presidency in 1872.  

The Museum podcast #11: LGBTQ histories, stone tools and the Museum rifle club

Feb 2020

Stuart Frost – Head of Interpretation and Volunteers – discusses how we create narratives around the collection and how volunteers are vital in supporting the Museum. In the archives, Francesca and Sian look at the history of the Museum’s clubs and societies.

The Museum podcast special: Women of Troy

Jan 2020

Alexandra Villing, curator of the BP exhibition Troy: myth and reality talks with classicist Natalie Haynes about the wives, mothers, seers, queens, and goddesses at the heart of the Trojan myth.

The Museum podcast #10: Happy New Year!

Jan 2020

Hugo and Sushma kick off 2020 with an interview with the Museum’s director, Hartwig Fischer. In the archives, Francesca and Sian take a look at the history of the Hirayama Paper conservation studio. 

The Museum podcast Christmas special: 12 objects for Christmas

Dec 2019

From us to you, a very British Museum Christmas gift: we invited twelve colleagues across the Museum to tell us about their favourite objects and gathered their responses into a special Christmas compendium. 

The Museum podcast #9: Season's greetings from the British Museum

Dec 2019

We are serving an array of festive delights, Sushma talks to Tim Clark, Head of the Japanese Section as he reviews four decades at the Museum, Francesca and Sian head to the archives to peruse Christmas cards from the 30s. 

The Museum podcast #8: A is for Amazon, B is for blueprints, C is for communism

Nov 2019

Hugo and Sushma interview Laura Osorio Sunnucks about the Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research. In the Money gallery, Tom Hockenhull introduces a communist poster, and Francesca and Sian review blueprints in the archives. 

The Museum podcast #7: Innovative exhibitions, international gold and noisy children

Oct 2019

Hugo and Sushma discuss how we reflect what is happening in the world today in the changing displays of Room 3. In the archives, Francesca and Sian chart the history of children’s visits to the Museum. 

The Museum podcast #6: X-rays and pioneering women

Sept 2019

Hugo and Sushma leave the cosy confines of the office and head into the basements to meet with Dan O’Flynn and his X-ray machine. Francesca and Sian scour the Trustees’ minutes to talk ‘modesty boards’ and the Museum’s first female curator.  

The Museum podcast #5: Trainees, travel and Tutankhamun

Aug 2019

Hugo and Sushma find out more about the Museum Futures traineeship and Francesca and Sian dig into the archives to tell us about the Museum’s most-visited exhibition of all time (over 1.6 million visitors)–the 1972 show on Tutankhamun.

The Museum podcast # 4: The balmy heights of July

Jul 2019

Hugo and Sushma interview Head of the PAS Michael Lewis. Jenny Ramkalawon examines how artists have subverted the humble postcard and Francesca and Sian raid the archives to find out how Hitchcock shot the epic final scene of Blackmail (1929). 

The Museum podcast #3: The story of Sutton Hoo

Jun 2019

We commemorate the excavation of Sutton Hoo with an interview with curator Sue Brunning and a trip to the archives. Sushma takes a tour of 'Reimagining Captain Cook: Pacific perspectives' with the show's curator Julie Adams.  

The Museum podcast #2: Dirty dishes, poison and black goo

May 2019

Kate Fulcher discusses her research into ancient Egyptian coffin residue – otherwise known as ‘black goo’ – and Leonora Baird-Smith delves into the complex world of collections care. Francesca and Sian examine some unexpected finds from the archives relating to Montague House.

The Museum podcast #1: Buckets of the British Museum

Apr 2019

Hugo and Sushma chat with Ceri Ashley about the Endangered Material Knowledge Project and with Nick Kendall one of the longest-serving members of staff. Francesca introduces the archive and curator Julia Farley speaks about the Aylesford Bucket. 

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