OVER ITS CENTURIES OF DOMINATION and expansion, the British Empire collected its fair—make that unfair—share of stuff, much of which now resides in the British Museum. Of course, like most other museums in countries heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the British Museum is presently shuttered. But that doesn’t mean you can’t examine its holdings.
Last week the museum opened up about half of the objects in its collections—meaning an astonishing 1.9 million items—for public perusal online. While it’s in the public domain (as the Smithsonian’s collection is), the British Museum’s trove will operate under a non-commercial CC-BY-4.0 license, which allows the public to view the images and share them with friends.