In January 2010, the BBC commenced broadcasting a 100-part radio series called A History of the World in 100 Objects. The series had been four years in the making and drew on the expertise of the British Museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, who used each episode to explore the historical and cultural significance of a different object from the museum’s collections.
MacGregor explained the thinking behind his choices thus: “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 that humans have made: all sorts of things, carefully designed, and then either admired and preserved, or used, broken and thrown away. I've chosen just a hundred objects from different points on our journey, from a cooking pot to a golden galleon, from a Stone Age tool to a credit card.”
The radio series was subsequently adapted to book form, whereby each object was given five or six pages to reveal its secrets and import. It makes for enthralling and instructive reading!
MacGregor’s approach inspired our own History of ICHK in 100 Objects - what a great way, we thought, to explore the evolving history of our school and to examine its values, ethos and character through the material technologies that resonate with us as its users. Each of these objects has a story to tell, is woven round with memories and emotions, and acts as a lodestar for teachers and students who join the school.
Following MacGregor’s lead, then, we too are travelling back in time, though over a rather more modest 14 years, to see how the ICHK community has shaped its world and been shaped by it.