Our visitors’ journey of discovery begins on the lower ground floor, where themed galleries explore the connections between objects and activities common to different cultures – such as money, materials and representations of the human image.
Three further floors provide fresh insights into the interaction of the cultures of east and west during ancient and modern times. On the Ancient World floor, objects dating from pre-history to c.700AD plot the emergence and development of ancient cultures from Egypt and the Near East, through Greece and Rome, to India and China.
The Making of the Modern World floors bring the story up to date. The galleries explore the art, religion, geography and ecology of cultures from Europe to the Far East, tracing the intermingling of people and objects that has shaped the world we live in today. This world is represented on a floor devoted to galleries of 19th–21st-century art and major exhibitions.
Orientation galleries on each floor introduce the key themes and provide story-trails to be followed, enabling visitors to plan their own routes through different cultures and eras, and to make those illuminating connections and comparisons that bring the past to life.