The second floor Orientation Gallery gives you an insight into the changing world brought about by European exploration in the late 15th century and how contacts with the Americas and Asia transformed the lives of Europeans.

Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas in 1492, followed six years later by the Portuguese discovery of the sea route to India under Vasco da Gama, initiated a time of unprecedented European expansion. This led to a new European interest in the world’s geography and natural history and to increased contacts with cultures of different beliefs and traditions. Merchants shipped East Asian porcelain, lacquerware and Indian cotton textiles back home, where their popularity transformed Western taste. European diets and social customs were revolutionised by the introduction of potatoes, tobacco, tea and coffee.

An interactive touch screen exploring the themes of travel and exploration, transfer of technologies, empire: conflict and control, and craftsmanship and design will help you plan your tour of this floor.