BP and the British Museum

BP is the British Museum's longest-standing partner, supporting the public programme on an annual basis since 1996. Over the course of 19 years, BP has backed numerous special exhibitions, most recently the highly successful Ming: 50 years that changed China

Other major exhibitions have included BP's most popular exhibition at the British Museum – Vikings: life and legend, plus Shakespeare: Staging the World, and Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings. These and previous exhibitions have enabled in excess of three million visitors to explore important topics including the golden age when the Ming dynasty ran China as a global superpower, and how Vikings created an international network across four continents. They have also given a unique insight into the emerging role of London as a world city seen through the innovative perspective of Shakespeare's plays. In addition, BP has helped with special public events around Chinese New Year and the Mexican Day of the Dead during which a combined total of over 66,000 people participated.

Indigenous Australia at the British Museum

Discover the remarkable story of one of the world’s oldest continuing cultures in this major exhibition. The show will be the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects, and will celebrate the cultural strength and resilience of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.

Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation

The latest BP exhibition, Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation, runs from 23 April - 2 August 2015 and tells the remarkable story of one of the world’s oldest continuing cultures.

This is the first major exhibition in the UK to present a history of Indigenous Australia through objects. It celebrates the cultural strength and resilience of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. The special relationship that Indigenous Australians have had with land and sea, that extends back over 60,000 years, is also explored.  

The exhibition features objects drawn from the British Museum’s unparalleled collection. Many of them were collected in the early colonial period (1770–1850), and have never been on public display before. There will also be important loans from Australian museums and Indigenous Australians along with specially commissioned artworks.

Among other things, the exhibition considers the complex relationships Indigenous Australians have with the natural world and how they have responded to changing historical circumstances. It is a remarkable story of how an ancient civilisation has endured and whose story is still unfolding today. 

Mask carved from turtle shell. From Mer, Torres Strait Islands

Mask carved from turtle shell. From Mer, Torres Strait Islands, before 1855.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.