British Sign Language videos

Looking at the MuseumWith Frank Barnes School for deaf children

The British Museum asked three groups of Frank Barnes' students to use BSL to describe some of the key objects in the Museum.

African masks

African masks and headdresses are just one part of a masquerader’s performance, which includes costume, music, story and dance. Masqerades are still performed in Africa today as well as in many other countries around the world.

During their visit, the students met an artist, Sokari Douglas Camp, who designs and builds masks - her work is on display in the Museum. The students were delighted to meet her and to talk about the objects in the galleries.

Day of the Dead celebrations

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African Masks

Describing African Masks (03.46)


Introducing the Parthenon temple (04.19)

Looking at Athena's procession (1:47)

Lion Hunts

Looking at the Assyrian palace reliefs (03:46)

About the project

Frank Barnes School for Deaf children is one of the few schools
in England which promotes a BSL bilingual approach.

Students from The Frank Barnes School

British Sign Language is the first language for around 70,000 Deaf people in the UK. It uses hand shapes and movement and facial expression to convey meaning. It has its own grammar, vocabulary and regional variations.

The project was supported by a grant from the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation. The videos were filmed by Remark! a company managed and run by Deaf people.

Frank Barnes School for Deaf children
BSL at the British Deaf Association


Back in school, the students wrote some poems about the animals they had seen in the gallery.


Lion sleeps on the grass
Lions are orange and furry
Lion comes from jungles in Africa
Lions are strong and eat meat
Lions have a very loud roar and sharp pointed teeth
Lions live in hot countries in Africa
Lions can run very fast
Lions and Cheetahs hunt Zebras and Gazelles for meat
Lions are born as cubs
Lions walk around in East Africa

By Benjahmin


Three dogs
Bark, calm
Big dog
Four legs
2 tails
2 ears
Slow walk
Old picture of dog
Stone wall

By Junior