The British Museum’s ‘BP Exhibitions’

Our campaign so far

In July 2019, Egyptian author and British Museum trustee Ahdaf Soueif resigned citing the museum’s intransigence on BP sponsorship, workers’ rights and the repatriation of artefacts taken in colonial times. Staff from the museum’s PCS union branch issued a statement in solidarity with her. The British Museum’s chairman took to national media to defend BP, and we debunked the misinformation he was spreading.


To coincide with the British Museum’s 2018 BP-sponsored exhibition I am Ashurbanipal: King of Assyria, King of the World, we worked in partnership with Platform and Campaign Against the Arms Trade to publish a new briefing: ‘From War to Warming: the shameful story of BP in Iraq’.


BM Scythians image

At the start of 2018, we launched a new web resource – Crude Connections – to coincide with the British Museum’s BP exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia. It revealed how BP uses sponsorship and lobbying to boost its business in Russia.


In 2016, we published a report highlighting how the British Museum had broken its own ethics rules in renewing its partnership with BP. You can read it here.


Quick Facts

BP Sponsorship of the British Museum

BP has been a sponsor of the British Museum since 1996 and is currently the title sponsor of the museum’s major exhibitions.

  • The ‘BP Exhibitions’ allow the company to boost its brand by associating itself with the UK’s most visted cultural institution.
  • As part of the redevelopment of the museum’s Great Court in 2000, BP gave money to create the ‘BP Lecture Theatre’ where the museum’s major events are hosted.
  • BP uses the museum as the setting for its annual business reception, as well as many other private events where it entertains strategically important policy-makers.