Tag: history (page 1 of 3)

The Currency of Communism at British Museum until 18 March 2018

This display looks at the changing roles of currency and exchange in communist states in the century since the 1917 Russian Revolution. 🤑 🤑 🤑

Communism proposes that money has no role in a utopian society. To date though, no communist state has successfully removed money from its economy. In the last 100 years, communism has existed in various forms in dozens of states all around in the world. From eastern Europe to Southeast Asia, this display examines the role of money in communist states, as well as the iconography and imagery associated with it.

Within communist economies, concepts of value and wealth are eroded and distorted, and the national currency becomes just one of various means of exchange. The display features examples of how the value of money has been reduced by communist states. East German coins made from aluminium demonstrate how communist currency was deliberately made to feel light and cheap. Adverts for savings banks from the USSR show how consumer benefits were left out of advertising in favour of information explaining how savings benefit the state.

With the reduced role of currency, communist states introduced different reward systems, starting in Russia in the 1930s. Stalin said people were to be measured ‘by their heroic feats’. A worker who exceeded their factory quota may receive the Order of the Badge of Honour, and a mother who raised nine children would receive the Order of Maternal Glory, First Class. These awards came with monetary bonuses, and allowed recipients access to a better quality of life due to the perks that came with them.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the transition to democracy in the early 1990s had a huge effect on former communist states. With borders and economies suddenly open after many years, new ideas and imagery soon began to circulate, along with new national currencies. Today there are only four states with planned economies – China, Laos, Cuba and Vietnam. Trading relations between them and capitalist countries have become normalised, but concepts of currency and political ideology continue to evolve.


British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

10am – 5:30pm (Friday until 8:30pm)

Free entry

Christmas Past at Geffrye until 7 January 2018

Escape from the hustle and bustle of Christmas and step back through time to Christmas Past. See authentic festive decorations, lighting, music and greenery transform the museum’s period living rooms, giving an evocative glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English homes over the past 400 years. 🎄 🏠 🎅

Seasonal food and drink will be on the menu in the café and the shop will be full of Christmas decorations and cards, stylish home-wares, gifts and treats.


136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA

Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
Monday closed (Bank Holiday Mondays 10am – 5pm)

Free entry

Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail @ Museum of London Docklands / until 3rd September 2017


Doors: 10am – 6pm

@ Museum of London Docklands, No1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL

Free entry


The most complete range of archaeological objects unearthed by Crossrail, Europe’s largest infrastructure project, is on display alongside the story of this great feat of engineering in a major exhibition.

The construction of London’s newest railway, which will be known as the Elizabeth line when services begin in 2018, has given archaeologists a unique chance to explore some of the city’s most historically important sites. Since work began in 2009, the project has undertaken one of the most extensive archaeological programmes ever in the UK, with over 10,000 artefacts shining a light on almost every important period of the Capital’s history. Read more about the archaeology behind the exhibition from the curator, Jackie Keily.

The wide variety of items on display explores 8,000 years of human history, revealing the stories of Londoners ranging from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665.

These finds were discovered in locations as diverse as suburban Abbey Wood in the south east, through Canary Wharf, across to Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and ending in Westbourne Park and Acton. The finds sit against a backdrop telling the engineering story of the largest infrastructure project currently underway in Europe, with key facts and figures presented throughout.

Game Changers: another way to play @ Somerset House / until 7th May 2017


Mon, Tue, Sat & Sun 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.00)
Wed–Fri 11.00-20.00 (last entry 19.00)

@ Somerset House,  Strand, London WC2R 1LA

Free entry!


Discover how traditional forms of chess, billiards and mazes continue to influence designers making exciting new games today.

A timeline tracing how traditional forms of chess, billiards and mazes have evolved with a selection of contemporary examples – both physical and digital – will be on show for visitors to try, including:

Four regional variations of Orthogonal/Diagonal, Nova Jiang’s modified chess sets which showed at Now Play This in 2016. Inspired by traditional Bauhaus chess sets, the pieces’ physical shape indicates how they should move.

A playable installation of Zach Gage’s Really Bad Chess, a digital game that recreates chess with a random selection of pieces for each player.

  • Home Turf, by Ed Saperia, a distorted billiards table that combines the normal challenges of billiards with a deliberately difficult shape
  • INKS by State of Play, an on-screen game within a physical pinball-style environment – derived from more traditional forms of billiards and bagatelle
  • Maze, a challenging, two-player table-top maze game by sculptor Alexander Berchert

The American Dream: Pop to the Present @ British Museum / until 18th June 2017


Doors: 10am – 5.30pm (Fri until 8.30pm)

@ British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

Tickets: £17.50 book online

Trace the creative momentum of a superpower in this major new exhibition.

The past six decades have been among the most dynamic and turbulent in US history, from JFK’s assassination, Apollo 11 and Vietnam to the AIDS crisis, racism and gender politics. Responding to the changing times, American artists produced prints unprecedented in their scale and ambition.

Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition includes works by the most celebrated American artists. From Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu – all boldly experimented with printmaking. Experience this extraordinary history through their eyes.

Taking inspiration from the world around them – billboard advertising, global politics, Hollywood and household objects – American artists created highly original prints to rival their paintings and sculptures. Printmaking brought their work to a much wider and more diverse audience.

The sheer inventiveness and technical ingenuity of their prints reflects America’s power and influence during this period. Many of these works also address the deep divisions in society that continue to resonate with us today – there are as many American dreams as there are Americans.

This exhibition presents the Museum’s outstanding collection of modern and contemporary American prints for the first time. These will be shown with important works from museums and private collections around the world.

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered @ V&A Museum of Childhood / until 23rd April 2017


Doors: 10:00–17:45

@ V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA

Free entry


Are you a Scrabble Champion?

A wannabee Chess grandmaster?

Or a Monopoly megalomaniac?

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered will celebrate the joy, excitement and occasional frustration of playing board games. This will exhibition include some of the most iconic, enthralling and visually striking games from the V&A’s outstanding national collection of board games.

Alongside current family favourites such as Cluedo and Trivial Pursuit, and traditional games like chess, the exhibition looks at historical board games including The Game of the Goose and other beautifully designed games from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Board games are played by everyone, young and old. They have a universal appeal that transcends cultural and language barriers. They can both teach and entertain us. The playing of board games is embedded into our culture, not just the games themselves but the act of playing, the interaction with family and friends, the lessons to be learned and the fun to be had.

The exhibition will include more than 100 objects, featuring games from around the world, and explores the important role of design. Throughout the exhibition, selected games of special interest are highlighted with more detailed information on their history and influence.

Hands-on interactives and the opportunity to become part of one big interactive game will direct visitors around the exhibition, and invite them to think about game playing experiences and what sort of player they are.

Legend of the East End @ Cass / until 11th September 2015


Mon-Fri 11.00–20.00
Sat 10.00–19.00
Sunday 09.00–18.00

@ The Cass, 135 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 7DG

Free entry


Work from the celebrated Cass East End Archive including images by Steven Berkoff and Don McCullin will feature in a new photographic exhibition focusing on the East End of notorious gangsters the Kray Twins.

Legend of the East End has been organised by Studiocanal to accompany and lead up to the launch of LEGEND a new film about the Krays directed by Brian Hegeland in which Tom Hardy plays both Ronnie and Reggie.

Fighting History @ Tate Britain / until 13th September 2015


Doors: 10.00–18.00 daily

Tickets: £12 book online

@ Tate Britain, Millbank London SW1P 4RG


From Ancient Rome to recent political upheavals, Fighting History looks at how artists have transformed significant events into paintings and artworks that encourage us to reflect on our own place in history.

From the epic 18th century history paintings by John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West to 20th century and contemporary pieces by Richard Hamilton and Dexter Dalwood, the exhibition explores how artists have reacted to key historic events, and how they capture and interpret the past.

Often vast in scale, history paintings engage with important narratives from the past, from scripture and from current affairs. Some scenes protest against state oppression, while others move the viewer with heroic acts, tragic deaths and the plights of individuals swept up in events beyond their control. The Death of Amy Robsart by William Frederick Yeames, which has been newly conserved for this exhibition, casts a spotlight on a historical mystery while John Minton’s The Death of Nelson offers a tender perspective on the death of one of England’s greatest naval commanders.

The exhibition also shows how contemporary artists, such as Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, continue to engage with the traditions of history painting to confront modern-day tragedies and dilemmas.

East and West Cemetery @ Highgate Cemetery / open most of the year


East cemetery
Mon-Fri 10am-4pm last admission 3:30pm
Weekends 11am-4pm last admission 3:30pm

West cemetery
Mon-Fri one tour daily at 1:45pm (booking essential)
Weekend tours every half hour from 11am-3pm (tickets sold on the day, you cannot book)

@ Highgate Cemetery, Swain’s Lane, London N6 6PJ (Archway Tube)

East cemetery

West cemetery
£12 book online


Highgate Cemetery has some of the finest funerary architecture in the country. It is a place of peace and contemplation where a romantic profusion of trees, memorials and wildlife flourish.

With over 170,000 people in 53,000 graves, Highgate Cemetery is a place to remember the people who have gone before us and to celebrate their achievements.

East cemetery:
The most famous resident of Highgate Cemetery East is Karl Marx, whose monument attracts comrades and others from all over the world.

West cemetery:
Nowhere captures better than Highgate Cemetery West the special atmosphere of the Victorian cemetery. Visit by guided tour only.

Russian Avant-garde Theatre: War Revolution and Design @ V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum) / until 25th January 2015


Open daily 10am – 5.45pm
Fri 10am – 10pm

@ V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum), Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Free entry


This display reveals twenty years of radical and revolutionary designs for performance against the backdrop of the First World War and the Russian Revolutions.

Around 150 set and costume designs demonstrate the creative, experimental and visionary performance designs of celebrated artists including Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexandra Exter, El Lissitsky, Liubov Popova and Varvara Stepanova.

With a large number of works exhibited in the UK for the first time, the display explores the unprecedented boom in Russian theatre culture during the first decades of the 20th century and the development of the avant-garde movement.

Curated in collaboration with the A.A.Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow and supported by the Russian Ministry of Culture.

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