It is a standing source of astonishment and amusement to visitors that the British Museum has so few British things in it: that it is a museum about the world as seen from Britain rather than a history focused on these islands.
The Louvre stopped buying paintings in 1848, and neither the Metropolitan nor the Hermitage acquire contemporary material.
The spread of Viking bling is a good indication of the spread of its culture.
Hardest of all for Europeans to negotiate are traditional African religions, whose transactions with unseen powers are central to the running of life in many areas, the main weapon in the struggle against the forces of evil.
A collection that embraces the whole world allows you to consider the whole world. That is what an institution such as the British Museum is for.
Google the name Prometheus, and see how often it has been given to innovations in many different fields, notably science, medicine and space exploration. The fire he stole can be seen, too, as the spark generating all artistic creativity.
The distinction between a gallery and a museum is enormous. The gallery is about looking at a thing of beauty; the purpose of the activity is an aesthetic response. The museum is actually about the object that lets you get into somebody else’s life.
In a very literal way, of course, Shakespeare did change the course of history: when it didn’t fit the plot he had in mind, he simply rewrote it. His English histories play fast and loose with chronology and fact to achieve the desired dramatic effect, re-ordering history even as it was then understood.