The British Museum’s unparalleled world collection at your fingertips

Unique new partnership with Google's Cultural Institute makes museum's objects accessible to all.

London 12th November (08.45 GMT): Starting today, over 4,500 objects from the British Museum can be viewed online by people around the world due to a new partnership between the Google Cultural Institute and the British Museum.

The Google Cultural Institute brings the world’s cultural treasures to the fingertips of Internet users and builds tools that allow the cultural sector to share more of its world collections. Through this partnership with the British Museum, over 4,500 objects and artworks can be seen online in just a few clicks.

Visitors from all over the world will be able to virtually walk through the permanent galleries of the British Museum thanks to innovative indoor Street View footage. The British Museum is the largest space to be captured on indoor Street View and will allow virtual audiences to explore objects showcasing the cultural achievements of humanity.

In addition, specially curated virtual exhibits have been developed for the partnership– at launch these include Celtic life in Iron Age Britain, a tour of Celtic material from collections across the UK and an exploration of the main themes of the British Museum’s exhibition Egypt: faith after the pharaohs.

Teachers can bring their lessons to life by transporting their students to London’s Bloomsbury for a virtual tour from the comfort of their classroom, with crystal clear images and detailed descriptions provided by British Museum curators.

The partnership also means that one of the British Museum’s most important Chinese scrolls – the Admonitions Scroll dating from the 6th-century – can now be viewed in never before seen definition thanks to Gigapixel technology, a powerful zoom functionality which has enabled us the highest ever resolution image of this object. Due to the fragile nature of the scroll it is only ever available to view for a few months of the year. Now the scroll will be visible online, in fantastic detail, all year round.

Finally, visitors can discover 'the Museum of the World’ curated by the British Museum through an innovative Chrome experiment. On this microsite, objects from the collection are mapped to a timeline so users can explore and make connections between the world’s cultures, and see what happened around the world at any one time. The site uses the most advanced WebGL (Web Graphics Library) technology available. (desktop only) #MuseumOfTheWorld

Amit Sood, Director of the Google Cultural Institute commented : “We’re extremely proud to support the British Museum in their mission to be a museum of the world, for the world, through technology. It’s an incredible thought that now anyone, anywhere can experience the riches of their expertly curated collection, which is probably the most comprehensive survey of the material culture of humanity in existence. What a wealth of knowledge to access!”

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said ‘The world today has changed, the way we access information has been revolutionised by digital technology. This enables us to gives the Enlightenment ideal on which the Museum was founded a new reality. It is now possible to make our collection accessible, explorable and enjoyable not just for those who physically visit, but to everybody with a computer or a mobile device. And this isn’t just about putting the collection ‘online'. Through our partnership with Google, we hope to give people new ways to experience and enjoy the Museum, new ways to learn, and new ways to teach.”

Notes to Editors:

About the Google Cultural Institute:

Since the Google Cultural Institute was launched in 2011, we've worked with closely with museums, foundations and other and archives, from the Musee D'Orsay in Paris to Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. We now have more than 800 partners from over 60 countries making more cultural and historical material accessible online and by doing so, preserving it for future generations.

About the British Museum

The British Museum is committed to sharing its collection with the widest possible public, both physically and virtually. The Museum previously worked with the Google Cultural Institute on a project around the Sutton Hoo collection.

Find out more 

Further information:

British Museum landing page on Cultural Institute 

Museum of the World microsite 

Virtual exhibits:

Egypt: faith after the pharaohs 

Celtic life in Iron Age Britain: 

Poetry and Exile 

For images: