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May 2011

Asian Heritage Month: Chinese Homelands Festival 亚裔文化月 Saturday, May 14th 2011, 五月十四日。星期六

May 12, 2011 | Claire | Comments (0)

1:00 p.m.     Decorative Vegetable Design. Conducted by Marion Ho

                     蔬果雕刻 示范

2:00 p.m.     Bernice Hune, Storyteller


2:30              Starlight Cantonese Opera Workshop

                      "齐來茶篤撐":谈谈粤 的唱,做,念,打。寶新聲粵劇團)

 Riverdale Branch, 370 Gerrard Street, 416-393-7720.  No Registration Required.

A History of the World in 100 Objects

May 6, 2011 | Claire | Comments (5)

In 2010, BBC radio and the British Museum carried out a project they called "A History of the World".  One hundred objects from the British Museum were chosen its Director, Neil MacGregor,  and used to tell the story of humanity's journey from prehistory to the modern period. The objects range from stone axes, chopping tools and spear points made by early man to a mainframe computer, credit card and cookbook from the recent past. My favourite object (although it's difficult to choose) is an ancient Cypriot child's rattle in the shape of a pig.  It's such a whimsical, everyday thing, and to me it illustrates the human desire to play.

Here is how MacGregor describes the project:

"In these programmes, I'm travelling back in time, and across the globe, to see how we humans over 2 million years have shaped our world and been shaped by it, and I'm going to tell this story exclusively through the things humans have made:  all sorts of things, carefully designed, and then either admired and preserved, or used, broken and thrown away.... Of course, it can only be "a" history of the world, not "the" history.  When people come to museums they choose their own objects and make their own journeys around the world and through time, but I think what they will find is that their own histories quickly intersect with everybody elses, and when that happens,  you no longer have a history of a particular people or nation, but a story of endless connections."

The BBC and the British Museum have developed an exceptional web site for World
this project, where you can listen to 15-minute radio talks by MacGregor on each of his choices,  zoom in on the objects with high-definition photographs, and explore the many historic themes which he develops  throughout the program.   The companion book, like the original radio programs, combines deep knowledge and thought with an easy, conversational style.  It's the kind of book you can read all at once or dip into gradually over a periodMuseum of time.

If MacGregor's History of the World In 100 Objects leaves you curious about history closer to home, check out Charlotte Gray's The Museum Called Canada.  Although somewhat different in conception (the objects come from collections throughout Canada, not from a single  museum)  Gray follows the same format of using objects to illustrate history.  Beautifully photographed and designed as well as impeccably researched, The Museum Called Canada is a fascinating read.