A History of the World in 100 Objects
A History of the World in 100 Objects is an audio-visual project undertaken by the British Museum in conjunction with BBC Radio in 2010. The project presents 100 objects from the British Museum collection to tell the history of the world from 2,000,000 BCE to 2010 CE. This ambitious undertaking is now available on BBC's archived site in text and audio format and as a podcast of the same name through all mainstream podcasting platforms. Each object in the program enumerates an aspect of human life within a historic period and geographic region. For example, one of the 100 object is a 4000-year-old seal from the Indus Valley Civilization in the British Museum Collection. The webpagefor this object entry includes two essays about the seal and the culture and links to the audio and transcript of the podcast episode on the object. The transcript and audio are both downloadable. All objects are presented along with a couple of essays written by leading scholars of the field, an audio recording, and further links to related materials at the British Museum. The essays are short and concise and perfect for introductory learning. The audio recordings are less than 15 minutes each.
The series was designed by former director of British Museum, Neil MacGregor, who is also the narrator in the audio format. The 100 object series has since expanded to include a digital repository for additional objects under various categories including location, theme, culture, size, color, material, time, and type of contributor. You can see this extended project at this link. An interesting addition to this section is Neil MacGregor's follow-up podcast episode about an object from 2020 that encapsulates our current world. While the site continues to be fully functional, it is not updated anymore so it can be a little confusing to navigate. The easiest way to access the original 100 objects is to use the podcast page or to use this Google Site that captures the text and images of the 100 objects. But overall A History of the World in 100 Objects is a great resource to teach world history through visual culture in an accessible and succinct format for both school and college-level classes.