Exhibitions, events, and heritage from home – CA’s May Listings

Over the coming months, there are many great ways to get stuck into history and heritage around the UK, from exciting new exhibitions to a variety of events and activities for the whole family. Or, if you would prefer to get involved from home instead, there are plenty of archaeological and historical resources available online, including virtual museum tours and online exhibitions, digital platforms and archives, and new TV shows. Amy Brunskill has put together a selection of some of the latest options.


Return of the Gods

World Museum, Liverpool
Until 25 February 2024

This new exhibition from National Museums Liverpool explores the drama-filled lives of the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, diving into ancient Greek and Roman mythology to discover the original characters that have inspired so many of our modern heroes and heroines. Step inside their stories, with 2m-high statues towering above you, and discover a collection of more than 100 sculptures and objects, on display together for the first time. Tickets can be booked online and cost £8 for adults, while members and children under 17 go free.

Image: © National Museums Liverpool

China’s Hidden Century

British Museum, London
18 May-8 October 2023

The British Museum’s upcoming exhibition explores the resilience and innovations of 19th-century China. The years between 1796 and 1912 were a time of violence and turmoil, but they were also a period of extraordinary creativity, driven by political, cultural, and technological change. Bringing together a group of exquisite objects for the first time, the exhibition offers visitors a glimpse of life in late imperial China, as well as exploring the stories of some of the remarkable individuals who lived during this period. Tickets cost £18 for adults. Advance booking is recommended.


English Heritage – Helmsley Archaeology Store Tours

Helmsley Archaeology Store, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Multiple dates May-October 2023

Join the English Heritage collections team for a behind-the-scenes tour of the archaeology store in Helmsley. Guided by members of the collections team, the tours will explore how they manage and care for the collections, and highlight some of the team’s favourite finds from across the North. This year’s tours are scheduled for 26 May, 23 June, 28 July, 8 September, and 13 October, although additional tours may be run subject to demand. Bookings will be made on a first-come-first-served basis. Tours are free, but contributions are welcomed.

Discover Roman Chichester: the Novium Museum to Fishbourne Roman Palace Walk

Fishbourne Roman Palace & Gardens
31 May & 3 June 2023

Beginning at Novium Museum, this guided walk will take visitors on a journey back in time, exploring some of the key Roman sites in Chichester, and ending at Fishbourne Roman Palace. Discover more about the public bathhouse, the walls and temples, and the largest Roman home this side of the Alps, and find out what life was like in Roman Chichester more than 2,000 years ago. Tickets cost £15 for adults and £9 for children; price includes entry to Fishbourne Roman Palace.


National Portrait Gallery – reopening

National Portrait Gallery, London
22 June 2023

The National Portrait Gallery will reopen next month, following the largest redevelopment in its history. The gallery has announced the line-up of exhibitions to mark the occasion, including a display of works by pioneering female photographer Yevonde and never-before-seen portraits of the Beatles taken by Paul McCartney. In addition to significant changes to the building, the redevelopment project involved a comprehensive redisplay of the collection, from the Tudors up to modern images. Book online now to guarantee entry to the collections, or buy tickets for one of the exhibitions.


• Salar Jung Museum, India


The Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad has released a selection of digital exhibitions with Google Arts & Culture, highlighting artefacts in the museum’s collections, from wood and bronze pieces to contemporary works of art.

• Freud Museum, UK


Discover a variety of digital resources connected to past and present exhibitions at the Freud Museum, including several that explore the fascination that the founder of psychoanalysis had with antiquities and the ancient world.

• Tomb of Nebenmaat, Egypt


Explore the burial place of a man named Nebenmaat and his wife Mertesger in the ancient Egyptian village of Deir el-Medina, home to the artisans who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

• Clifford’s Tower, UK


Take a virtual tour of Clifford’s Tower in York, originally built by William the Conqueror, to find out more about the tower’s many uses and its sometimes dark past, and for views of the surrounding area.

Image: Wolfgang Claussen


• Europeana


Discover art, books, films, and music from thousands of cultural institutions, learn about figures and stories from history, and explore the collections through themes like migration, manuscripts, and archaeology.

• The British Newspaper Archive


Explore millions of digitised newspaper pages, dating back to the 1700s, with this online resource from Findmypast and the British Library, and find out how the archive has been used in recent research on the BNA blog.

Image: Reading Tom

• The Shindig – an Archaeology Podcast


Enjoy this archaeology and heritage podcast in which members of Rubicon Heritage in Ireland and Red River Archaeology in the UK chat to experts about the latest in archaeological research.

• Secrets of Stonehenge: online lecture


On 18 May (7–8.30pm), Professor Tim Darvill will give a free online lecture sharing his research into Stonehenge acting as a solar calendar, with the opportunity to ask questions and a live discussion afterwards.


• Locus Ludi


Try your hand at ancient Greek and Roman games like knucklebones, pente grammai, and three men’s morris with these online resources, which have used archaeological clues to reconstruct the lost rules of the games.

• Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery


Discovery a variety of activities to help children get involved in historical subjects, from making your own ancient Egyptian tomb or Roman bathhouse to a prehistory-themed Snakes and Ladders.

• #WhatIsItWednesday


Look out for weekly Twitter posts from museums and galleries under this hashtag to see if you can identify the mysterious objects pictured before the answer is revealed the following day.

• Digman!


Enjoy this new animated comedy series about a world in which archaeologists are more popular than rockstars, starring Andy Samberg and a host of other famous voices. The series is available to stream on Paramount+.

• Fortress Britain


Join Alice Roberts and her fellow historians as they explore Britain’s long-standing concerns about invasion, and examine the physical reminders that can still be found around the UK today.

Image: DeFacto

• Jonathan Ross’ Myths and Legends


Find out more about some of Britain’s most fantastical forgotten fables, local legends, and mythical mysteries – from King Arthur to the Green Man – with this new miniseries from Jonathan Ross.