A mother and daughter looking at objects in room 33

12 objects to see with children

Travel back in time on this twelve-object trail.

From ancient armour to mummified mammals and from bygone board games to massive monuments, these objects will captivate and inspire old and young minds.

Ground and lower floors

1. Bust of Ramesses the Great (Room 4)

This section of a larger statue, which weighs 7.5 tonnes, once sat in the Ramesseum, in Egypt, venerating Ramesses II, one of the greatest Egyptian pharoahs. Coverage of the bust's transportation to the UK is believed to have inspired Shelley's famous sonnet, Ozymandias.

The Rosetta Stone (Room 4)

2. The Rosetta Stone (Room 4)

The key that unlocked the hieroglyphic language of ancient Egypt, the Rosetta Stone is the Museum's most popular exhibit and one of the cornerstones of modern Egyptology. Don't leave without seeing it for yourself.

Hoa Hakananai'a (Room 24)

3. Hoa Hakananai'a (Room 24)

This statue of Hoa Hakananai'a is made distinctive by carvings that have been added to the back, associated with the island birdman cult.

Tang ceramic tomb figures (Room 33)

4. Tang ceramic tomb figures (Room 33)

This set of 13 earthenware figures was discovered in a tomb believed to belong to Liu Tingxun, a Chinese general from the 8th century. Placed in the tomb to act as guardians, the figures were decorated using the sancai ('three colours') technique, a recent innovation at the time.

Aztec serpent (Room 27)

5. Aztec serpent (Room 27)

Created in what is now Mexico in the 15th or 16th century, this extraordinary double-headed serpent sculpture is mostly made of turquoise pieces over a wooden base, and probably had ritual significance.

The Sloane Astrolabe (Room 1)

6. The Sloane Astrolabe (Room 1)

Crafted about 1300, this astrolabe is named for Hans Sloane, whose collection formed the basis for the British Museum. It's the earliest and largest English astrolabe to have survived from the Middle Ages and shows a knowledge of Arabic astronomy and instrumentation.

Upper floors

7. Mummified Bull (Room 62)

The Egyptians didn't just mummify people – they also preserved and wrapped their animals in a similar manner. This mummified bull was found in Thebes and is believed to have been preserved about 30 BC – AD 600. 

Royal Game of Ur (Room 56)

8. Royal Game of Ur (Room 56)

Originally played in the early third millennium BC and once popular across the Middle East, the rules of this two-player strategy board game were lost to history until British Museum curator Irving Finkel decoded a cuneiform tablet containing the instructions in the early 1980s.

Mummy of Katebet (Room 63)

9. Mummy of Katebet (Room 63)

One of the most-studied mummies in the Museum, Katebet was a Chantress of Amun, and would have sung and performed music during rituals. Both the mummy and her accoutrements are incredibly well preserved, despite dating back to 1300 BC.

11. Samurai armour (Room 92–94)

10. Samurai armour (Room 92–94)

Armour and weaponry defined the samurai's authority on the battlefield. This complete, matching set of armour was produced for a member of the powerful Mori family, who were samurai lords based in western Japan.

11. Pieces of Eight (Room 68)

11. Pieces of eight (Room 68)

Evoke stories of pirates and buried treasure with these genuine pieces of eight, which formed the first global currency and were accepted as legal tender across Europe and the New World.

The Sutton Hoo ship burial (Room 41)

12. The Sutton Hoo ship burial (Room 41)

Found undisturbed in 1939, the many artefacts of the Sutton Hoo burial date back to 7th century Britain and are popularly believed to have belonged to Rædwald, an Anglo-Saxon king. See one of the most magnificent archaeological discoveries ever made in the UK for yourself.