Adornment and identity

In Museums on January 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

There’s a new exhibition open at the British Museum today called Adornment and Identity: Jewellery and Costume from Oman, a display about, well, it’s pretty obvious from the title, isn’t it?

You might be forgiven for thinking that, as it’s at the BM, it’s an exhibition of ancient artefacts – little relics in display cases. But the jewellery, trinkets and clothing in this exhibition are all from the twentieth century, in fact mostly from the 1950s and 60s. These beautiful objects – mostly silver – have gone out of fashion in recent years, in favour of gold decorative jewellery, but these pieces stand as a reminder of a bygone era.

And that’s what’s so good about this display. It’s more than just beautiful things in showcases – there’s a social dimension to these pieces, which describe everyday and celebratory life in Oman. These are pieces which were used by real people, so there’s a human element involved. That’s always a huge plus when storytelling in a museum setting – people love stories about people.

I did a small piece of work on the exhibition last year, when they were preparing the display, helping them to write and edit text for the interpretive panels for the display. The exhibition labels were edited by the mindful, diplomatic and all round clever clogs Maria Blyzinski from The Exhibitions Team. Go check out our text and let us know what you think!

  1. I paid a visit to the exhibition and wished that it had been possible to display the silver better

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