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For the curious and interested

A British Museum Touring Exhibition

27.4.2024 - 7.9.2024


During his lifetime, the physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753) assembled a vast collection of books, drawings, prints, plants, antiques and cultural objects.

Sloane’s curiosity and collecting was shaped within a period of increasing global trade and European and British imperial and colonial expansion. He financed his collecting through his medical practice, and profits from transatlantic slavery and the enslavement trade which forcibly trafficked African people to the Caribbean and the Americas. In 1753 his collection was used to found the British Museum with the purpose of ‘satisfying the desire of the curious.’

Over 270 years later, this exhibition reunites 25 of those objects that are now cared for by three different museums and libraries. It looks at how his professional position supported the growth of his collection. It also explores the stories of those whom he relied upon for their knowledge and skills, including Indigenous and enslaved peoples, and other collectors, explorers and naturalists.

Working collaboratively, the British Museum, Ceredigion Museum and members of Voices from the Edge explore how we think and feel about Sloane’s legacy. Collectively – and through creative responses by Voices from the Edge – we seek to understand the connections between wealth generated from transatlantic slavery and the objects in our museums today.

Join our conversation. Together, we can confront the complex histories behind these collections.