The British Museum has long been a patron of good design. Its exhibitions are invariably well portrayed through design – take, for example, the current Book of the Dead exhibition, designed by Land Design Studio.

Last year saw the opening of four new British Museum shops, designed by the then Small Back Room creative director Callum Lumsden, to add to a growing portfolio of good design. But it was a different kind of project that puts the museum in this year’s Hot 50.

British Museum director Neil MacGregor took to the airwaves last year with a series on BBC Radio 4 to tell A History of the World in 100 Objects – all exhibits at the museum.

Though most probably don’t fit in with the design community’s take asto what constitutes design – in the way a similar series by the Victoria & Albert Museum probably would – MacGregor’s selection raised debate about the relevance of the objects in relation to the technologies and social expectations of their day. That surely is a great way to encourage interest in design of all genres in our information technology-driven era.

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