Located in the beautiful Bloomsbury neighborhood, the British Museum holds one of the richest and most eclectic public art collections in the world. From the Rosetta Stone, to the lion hunt, to the king's palace at Nineveh, the museum is packed full of artwork that can enhance your family's understanding of the ancient world. Our walk begins just outside the museum, where we'll learn how it was founded and how the passion for collecting is still at the core of this incredible institution today. From here we'll go inside and, using fun educational tools, pick a theme or a particular civilization and follow its development throughout time. We may, for instance, focus on the development of scripture from cuneiform to hieroglyphic to our modern alphabet, using tools like the Rosetta Stone and other ancient inscriptions. We'll also make sure to include a visit to the Egyptian mummies and the Parthenon marbles and, depending on the children’s interests, may also focus on the development of civilization in England.
Note: In order to plan the best possible experience for your children, it would be helpful for us to know some background. Have they traveled to other countries in the past? If so, where? Have they studied any subjects in school that would relate to the walk? Are they interested in art, music, even food? The more you can tell us, the better.
Please note that as of November 2021, some galleries, including the Parthenon galleries and the adjacent greek galleries, are currently closed due to ongoing renovations and may not be included on your tour.
My background is classics and the ancient world generally, with focus on Roman culture and religion. My graduate work has focused on the late Roman world and the emergence of Christianity. My area of specialization is the fourth century Latin West but I’m very comfortable talking about most topics of Roman social and cultural history and any aspect of early Christian history. I’ve done significant research on Christian martyrology, Roman inscriptions, the catacombs at Rome, and early asceticism. Some of my favourite things to talk about are Roman letters (e.g. Vindolanda), relics, ‘Romanisation’ and ‘de-Romanisation’, and the ways that we can glimpse moments of everyday life and universal human experience through artefacts and texts.
Helena Meskanen is an archaeologist, with a PhD from King's College London, where her research focused on ancient Spartan religion and archaeology. As a field archaeologist, she has worked in Greece, Italy, Israel, Scotland and her native Finland, and loves talking about the challenges, possibilities and realities of fieldwork. She has lived in London for 9 years, and finds the city's endless layers of history fascinating. From the British Museum to Roman London, from the Great fire of London to the shiny modern skyscrapers, there is always an interesting corner or an alley to explore.
Kathy graduated with a first class Bachelors’ and Masters’ from Oxford University before her interest in world cultures and history, largely inspired by visits to the British Museum as a child, led her to seek her fortunes abroad. After a period of extensive travel and work in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America, volunteering, working in education and studying Mandarin, she decided to combine her passions for history, cultures, and for the museums of London by introducing them to visitors. She has been guiding in the London for over a year now introducing visitors to the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Art Gallery, and London’s streets. Currently she is undertaking a second Masters at the School of Oriental and African Studies in Pacific Asian Studies. As well as her studies she has an interest in ancient civilisations, Mesopotamia, the history of London, and art history.
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