Neil MacGregor

  • Aired:  10/31/11
  •  | Views: 14,011

Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor explores the significance of historical objects. (5:17)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

THANKS VERY MUCH.

FOLKS, MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE

DIRECTOR OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM

WHO IS TELLING THE STORY OF THE

WORLD THROUGH OBJECTS.

I HEAR ONE OF THE ITEMS IS AN

ANCIENT ARTIFACT CALLED A BOOK.

PLEASE WELCOME NEIL MacGREGOR.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

THANK YOU MR. McGREGOR, THANK

YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

ALL RIGHT YOU ARE THE DIRECTOR

OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM AS I SAID

BEFORE AND THE AUTHOR OF A NEW

BOOK CALLED "A HISTORY OF THE

WORLD IN 100 OCTOBERS."

>> YES.

>> Stephen: WE'LL GET TO THE

BOOK IN JUST A MOMENT BUT I HAVE

A BONE TO PICK WITH MUSEUMS IN

GENERAL.

WHY?

A LOT OF THAT STUFF SEEMS LIKE

IT MUST BE WORTH A LOT OF MONEY.

WHY NOT SELL IT?

RIGHT?

WHY KEEP IT?

WHY NOT SHARE IT WITH THE REST

OF THE WORLD BY LETTING ME BUY

IT.

(LAUGHTER)

>> I CAN'T SELL IT TO YOU

BECAUSE YOU OWN IT ALREADY.

IT BELONGS TO YOU.

THAT'S THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE

MUSEUM IS THAT IT BELONGS

EQUALLY TO EVERYBODY.

THIS MUSEUM IS THE FIRST

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THAT SORT AND

RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING

PARLIAMENT SAID THIS CAN'T BE

SOLD, EVERYBODY'S GOT TO GET IN

FREE FROM THE WHOLE WORLD IF

POSSIBLE.

SO IT'S NOT ABOUT ONE PERSON

OWNING, IT'S ABOUT EVERYBODY

USING AND ENJOYING.

>> BUT WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM

MUSEUMS WHEN WE GO IN

>> YOU LEARN WHO YOU ARE.

>> Stephen: I'M NOT IN THERE.

>> YOU WILL BE.

>> Stephen: YOU THINK SO?

>> YOU MIGHT BE, YOU MIGHT BE.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: SMART GUY.

>> WHAT YOU WILL LEARN ABOUT IS

WHY... WHAT WE ARE CONCERNED

ABOUT NOW WHAT PEOPLE HAVE

ALWAYS BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT.

>> Stephen: SEX?

>> SEX.

>> Stephen: MONEY?

>> MONEY.

POWER.

SNOOD FOOD.

>> FOOD.

TRADE, TRADE AND GOD.

THAT'S IT, REALLY.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: WELL, IT'S CALLED

"THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 100

OBJECTS."

IS THE BIBLE IN HERE?

>> NO, THE BIBLE IS NOT THERE

THERE.

>> Stephen: BECAUSE THE BIBLE

COULD JUST BE THE BOOK.

YOU COULD JUST TAKE THIS, THIS

LITTLE SLEEVE RIGHT HERE AND

WRAP IT AROUND THE BIBLE.

AND THEN YOU GOT THE HISTORY OF

THE WORLD IN ONE OBJECT.

>> YUP.

BUT WHAT THAT WOULD DO IS TELL

YOU WHAT GOD WANTED US TO BE.

>> Stephen: RIGHT.

>> WHAT THIS DOES IS TELL US

WHAT WE'VE ACTUALLY BEEN AND

WHAT WE ARE.

>> Stephen: OH, THAT'S CLEVER.

(LAUGHTER)

THAT IS CLEVER.

THAT'S CLEVER.

>> THANK AND THIS TELLS US THAT

WE'RE NOT WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE

BUT WE ARE CONCERNED WITH SEX,

POWER, MONEY, ALL THE REST.

>> Stephen: SO LET'S TALK ABOUT

THE THINGS YOU'VE GOT IN HERE.

THE FIRST OBJECT YOU HAVE IN

HERE, CHRONOLOGICALLY THE FIRST

OBJECT IS YOU GOT A ROCK.

YOU'VE GOT AN OLD STONE SHOPPING

TOOL.

WHAT'S THE SIGNIFICANCE HERE?

>> THIS IS WHY WE'RE ALL HERE

AND THIS IS WHY WE ALL HAVE

BRAINS.

THAT WAS MADE ABOUT 1.MILLION

YEARS AGO IN EAST AFRICA.

>> Stephen: WHAT DOES IT DO?

IT

>> IT GETS DEAD MEAT OFF DEAD

ANIMALS THEN YOU CAN EAT IT.

>> Stephen: LIKE A PREHISTORIC

SLAP-CHOP.

>> EXACTLY LIKE IT.

AND IT'S BECAUSE WE COULD MAKE

THAT THAT WE WERE ABLE TO GET

THE MEAT, BREAK THE BONES, GET

THE MARROW, GET THE PROTEINS,

GET THE BRAINS TO COME AND LIVE

EVERYWHERE.

>> Stephen: LET'S LOOK AT THE

NEXT ONE.

A SOLAR POWERED LAMP AND

CHARGER.

I DON'T GET THIS ONE BECAUSE IF

THIS SUN IS SHINING BRIGHT

ENOUGH TO CHARGE IT, I DON'T

NEED A LAMP.

>> (LAUGHS)

DID I NAIL YOU?

I THINK YOU BLEW THIS ONE.

>> IF YOU WERE LIVING... IF YOU

WERE TRYING TO COOK IN A HUT IN

AFRICA YOU WOULD BE JOLLY

GRATEFUL FOR THIS.

>> Stephen: JOLLY GRATEFUL?

(LAUGHTER)

ALL RIGHT.

WHY?

>> VERY.

VERY.

IS.

>> Stephen: WHY?

>> BECAUSE THIS FOR THE FIRST

TIME EVER LETS PEOPLE WHO DON'T

HAVE ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY HAVE

ACCESS TO LIGHT AT NIGHT.

>> Stephen: THE SUN DOESN'T

SHINE AT NIGHT.

>> YOU STORE IT UP IN THAT

LITTLE BIT ON THE LEFT.

YOU STORE IT UP IN THE BATTERY.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

I'LL READ THE BOOK.

OKAY.

>> Stephen: THE NEXT THING HERE

IS WE HAVE THE AKON DRUM?

WHAT'S THAT?

>> THIS IS A DRUM THAT WAS MADE

FOR A CHIEF WEST AFRICA BUT IT

WAS THEN... WE KNOW THAT BUT IT

WAS BOUGHT IN 173030 AS AN

INDIAN DRUM IN THE PLANTATION OF

VIRGINIA.

THIS CAME WITH THE SLAVES FROM

THE PLANTATIONS IN AMERICA.

THIS IS THE TEXT THEY DIDN'T

HAVE TO TELL US ABOUT THEIR

HISTORY.

>> Stephen: SO THIS IS LIKE

THEIR BOOK.

>> THIS IS.

>> Stephen: WAS THIS CLEVER OF

ME TO SAY?

LOOF

>>

(LAUGHTER)

>> UM... YEAH, YEAH.

(LAUGHS)

>> Stephen: THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING US MR. McGREGOR.

NEIL McGREGOR.

THE BOOK IS "THE HISTORY OF THE

WORLD IN 100 OBJECTS."

IT'S ONE OF THE FEW I'VE READ.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Loading...