Expanding our cultural programme

Two happy primary school boys talking over a display case, each holding a pencil and paper.

From Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to 20th century maps, our exhibitions reflect the richness of our collection, enliven debate and indulge every possible curiosity.

“I just thought the Library would be for researchers. I never thought to bring the kids here until I saw this exhibition was on.”
Visitor to Marvellous and Mischievous

Our exhibitions programme shines a light on the breadth of our collection, encouraging new and more diverse audiences. Thanks to a generous donation from Sir John Ritblat, in 2019 we completed a project that split our PACCAR Gallery into two spaces. This created one large space for major shows and a smaller gallery where we could programme more focussed exhibitions to attract new visitors and, in particular, expand our offer to families.

In April 2019 we opened Writing: Making Your Mark and two months later we opened Leonardo da Vinci: A Mind in Motion. Having both exhibitions running at the same time meant that we could double visitors to our shows.

We opened our first family exhibition in this new space, Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels, in November 2019, and welcomed an almost entirely new audience of young book lovers who we hope will continue to love the Library for a long time to come.


Find out how your support has made a difference

Your support

Find our how your support has made a difference.

Playing our part

The importance of our archives proved ever greater during lockdown.

Opening up access to early manuscripts

A generous donation from The Goldhammer Foundation allowed us to make discoveries.

Extending our national reach

Thanks to the Helen Hamlyn Trust, more people than ever can engage with precious items.

Insight into an exceptional mind

Bringing Leonardo da Vinci’s innovation to life through a creative partnership.

Meet Lenore

Lenore England set up the ‘Patricia G. and Jonathan S. England – British Library Innovation Fund’ to support us.

Growing our collection

Securing knowledge and culture for future generations.

New Sound Gallery opens

The American Trust for the British Library generously funded a new free exhibition.

The next generation

Inspiring online learning with the launch of Discovering Children’s Books.

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