William Sterling

Since 1994 I have been an eyeOpener trained volunteer guide at the British Museum (www.britishmuseum.org). The eyeOpener tours are designed to introduce visitors to different parts of the Museum. Once a month I lead guided tours of the Greek Galleries and Mediaeval Galleries. Check Events & Courses for upcoming tours.

British Museum Highlights

This new 90 minute tour of the Museum costs £12 per head and can be booked in advance via the Museum’s website.  Originally we started in Room 2 with an introduction to the museum’s founder, Sir Hans Sloane and then one of the oldest objects in the museum, a hand axe from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania which is some 1.2 million yers old.  Recently this object has been removed so the tour has evolved with different starting points.

The Early Mediaeval Room reopened in early 2014 so the Sutton Hoo helmet is now an integral part of the tour.  We also include the Lewis Chessmen and in one version this is followed by the Ribchester Roman Cavalry helmet and nearby Lindow Man, or Pete (Peat) Marsh to his friends.  We then leave Europe for the fabulous Oxus Treasure from Ancient Persia and staying in the Ancient World we go to Egypt for the Sphinx of Taharqo.  In the alternative version we examine a Ming banknote followed by two Roman treasures, the Warren Cup and Portland Vase, and the Egyptian wall paintings from the tomb of Nebamun.  The Lion tiles of Nebuchanezzar’s palace have recently been added to the tour.

We pass the famous mummies to start going back downstairs with the David Vases, the oldest blue and white Chinese porcelain known.  Staying in Asia we head further downstairs to the sensuous statue of Tara from C8th Sri Lanka.  Next is one of the museum’s stars, the Easter Island statue and time permitting we head to the basement for one of the Benin bronzes from Nigeria.  Our next stop is the Americas with two Mayan lintels and then to the Enlightenment Gallery for the story of the Rosetta stone and a chance to touch the replica.  Passing by the real Rosetta Stone we head back to Asia and ancient Assyria for one of the pairs of colossal human headed bulls, just about the heaviest objects in the collection.  Finally, we return to Europe and the famous Parthenon sculptures.

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