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For the curious and interested: a British Museum touring exhibition

Down County Museum, English Street, Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 6AH
Exhibition banner image featuring a woodblock print of  a multicoloured small bird on a flowery branch.


We have an exciting touring exhibition from the British Museum, opening on 20th January 2024, running until April 13th 2024.

Physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane (1660−1753) left his collection to the nation on his death in 1753, intending for it to be preserved and used for the purpose of 'satisfying the desire of the curious.'

This touring exhibition will, for the first time, reunite a small selection of objects from the collection that Sloane assembled, including books and prints, cultural objects, and natural history rarities, that are now cared for by the British Museum, the British Library and the Natural History Museum.

For the curious and interested is part of a wider project entitled 'Sloane Lab: Looking back to build future shared collections,' a Towards a National Collection (TaNC) Discovery Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Led by University College London, the project aims to develop tools that allow people to search across digital collections from different museums and libraries, using the reunited collection of Hans Sloane as a case study.

Confronting the complex history behind Sloane's vast collection, which was financed in part by profits from transatlantic enslavement, the touring exhibition will reveal how and why objects from across the world were brought together. It will also explore some of the stories of those Sloane worked with and relied upon for their knowledge and skills, including indigenous and enslaved people, and other collectors, explorers and naturalists around the world.

Demonstrating the breadth and diversity of the collection that Sloane assembled, each item in this exhibition offers a unique insight into Sloane's curiosity about the world.

Additionally, a special community co-curation group has selected and reflected on items from the Down County Museum collection to reveal new and local perspectives on the touring exhibition's themes.

Entrance to the exhibition, and Down County Museum, is free of charge. For opening hours, information on events, upcoming exhibitions and other services please telephone +44 (0) 33 0137 4049.

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Entrance to the exhibition, and Down County Museum, is free of charge.

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