‘Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind’: Considering Museum Impact and Public Engagement

Jill Cook

Wednesday 19 November 2014, 5.15PM

Speaker(s): Jill Cook, British Museum

Dr Jill Cook is Deputy Keeper of the Department of Europe and Prehistory at The British Museum.


The Ice Age Art exhibit brought together a collection of rare Palaeolithic art objects from across Europe dating to between 40-10, 000 years ago. The art, made of mammoth ivory and reindeer antler, reflects skilful, practised artists experimenting with perspectives, scale, volumes, light and movement, as well as seeking knowledge through imagination, abstraction and illusion. The exhibit was a unique opportunity for the public to see such rare objects displayed together and explores these concepts within the context of our early ancestors. The challenge of the exhibit was to make material from deep time accessible to a modern and non-specialist audience. This talk takes this exhibit as a case study in public engagement more generally, eventually becoming one of the most successful exhibits in the British Museum’s history.

Location: The Philip Rahtz Lecture Theatre (K/133), King's Manor