ITP’s Got Talent! (Xu Liyi, ITP 2018, China)

My name is Xu Liyi and I work at the Shanghai Museum in China.

Today we began our day photographing the empty British Museum before visitors arrived, as we did yesterday and will do tomorrow, I believe. But soon we were joined in a very thought-provoking guided tour of the British Museum with Kusuma Barnett, former Head of Volunteers, who carefully chose objects to view and asked good questions for us to reflect on what museums are for. This tour was not just about some eye-catching highlights of the museum but more about the mission and commitment of a museum. Some controversial issues were also talked about, such as whether an object should return to its place of origin, why we display and how we interpret objects that may cause uncomfortable feelings for some people. Only four groups of objects were viewed within one hour, but it felt like we saw an entire (and big!) gallery, not only because of the introduction from Kusuma, but also because we were visiting with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures, and different points of view.

Kusuma Barnett introducing the Rosetta Stone

Kusuma Barnett introduces the Rosetta Stone

For the rest of the day, we enjoyed wonderful presentations from ITPers in the Board Room with a lunch interval with representatives from ITP UK Partner museums. The presentations were divided by departmental groups. We must rank first place in presentation time-keeping! But it’s never enough to know someone just in ten minutes! There are quite a lot archaeologists among us. Many fellows are involved in exhibitions and education. Some fellows are more specialized in conservation and some are artists themselves. Not only the ancient world, but also modern art is represented here. And I am happy to learn that some new museums will be built. So the ITP network will be physically expanded. It is amazing to see that everyone’s job is composed of different aspects of museum work and they can handle so many different tasks in their museums. ITP’s got world talents!

ITPers presentations in the Boardroom

ITPers do their presentations in the Board Room with ITP UK Partners and BM Department Representatives attending

It was so nice to meet representatives from UK Partner museums during presentations and lunch to get to know each other better before our trips and talk more about the partner programme. I felt again that I was warmly welcomed by the UK museum world and deeply touched by their passion for the whole programme. We are all looking forward to our 10-day trip.

The day ended with a reception in Room 68: Money, which was chosen because it includes various cultures. We were joined by representatives from partner museums again and colleagues from various departments, as well as some other guests who are supporters and followers of the ITP’s work. We had further conversations about our institutions and work, talking about aspects that were not covered in our presentations. Lots of talk, laughs and photos! We got closer like a big family.

Welcome Reception

ITP Welcome Reception in Room 68: Money at the British Museum

Another beautiful and eventful day!