From the window in Neil MacGregor’s office you can see the swirling crowds of visitors in the courtyard of the British Museum. Seven million people a year squeeze through the Museum’s narrow door – almost double the number in 2000.
MacGregor, director since 2002, puts the rise in visitors down to the stunning redesign of the Great Court inside the museum with its glass and steel roof which has made the museum more visitor friendly. But much of the credit must go to him for his passionate belief that history should be central to our understanding of the world as it is today.
‘One of the purposes of the museum,’ he says ‘has been to offer the public the history they need to make sense of the world now’. Throughout our conversation, ‘history’ is often paired with the word ‘need’.
From Prussia with love - Neil MacGregor's new history lesson
The Director of the British Museum introduces us to aspects of history that have been long neglected