Indiana Daily Student

History finds new life in U.K.

An old Victorian tea set. A jade axe. The Rosetta Stone. These seemingly unrelated objects have one distinct commonality — they are all a part of the History of the World project’s 100 items chosen to represent world history through a partnership involving the British Museum, the BBC and hundreds of local museums throughout Britain.

As an outreach to communities, the project has also selected 10 items from each region of Britain to represent history. In Kent, these objects range from a Bronze Age boat to a World War II football, viewable at local museums throughout Kent.

During the featured exhibitions of these objects in their local museums, the project has also added an interactive component to inspire local people to “take part in history.” At local events around the country, community members are encouraged to visit their museum and bring along objects they have at home to add to an online database of items for the History of the World project.

This database accompanies the project’s exhibits at museums around the country and a series of television programs that will take viewers through two million years of history in 100 episodes.

On Feb. 20, the Museum of Canterbury hosted representatives of the BBC, bringing in hundreds of community members with a wide variety of historical artifacts and colorful stories to share along with their objects.

“Most people have something at home with some historical significance,” said Steven George, a representative of the BBC watching over the event in Canterbury. “And having this event brings a lot of people in who would maybe never even set foot inside the museum.”

One woman from the Kent area brought in a World War II Jewish star that had been passed down to her from her great uncle. Her great uncle, she said, served in the war and helped to liberate several camps in the Netherlands.

“What’s interesting about this is that the writing on it is in French, and I think that’s pretty rare. It must have come from a French prisoner,” she said. “I brought it in because I think it’s an important part of history, something that should be shared with others.”

A number of other interesting items were added to the database from the Canterbury event, including a set of World War II love letters from one woman’s grandparents. The event overall was a great success.

Nearing the end of the day, George reflected on the event, saying, “It’s been a real thrill to be here ... to take part in history.”

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