My Travelling Object

Many of us have been spending more time in our homes with lockdown during COVID-19. But what stories do the objects in your home tell?

For centuries, people have decorated their homes with objects that have travelled across the globe and which tell fascinating as well as troubling stories. Artists too have long been inspired to paint, draw, or mimic imported objects from around the globe.

This project from the department of Art History at the Open University sheds light on commonly found objects in your home and traces their historic origins. Building on our outreach work with schools, Open Arts Objects is giving you the opportunity to tell the stories of the objects in your home.

Take a picture, send us a video, create a still life, or draw your object and tell us your object stories! Find the instructions on how to do so below, watch our video outlining the project on youtube, and follow us on social media to see your object stories featured! We’ll then produce some new films explaining the historical display of these objects with expert Art Historians. [update!: we’ve produced one here!]

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Art History, why not check out our 50+ free films on Open Arts Objects or follow the travels of objects from around the globe on our interactive OpenLearn site, Travelling Objects.

Choose an object or set of objects in your home from one or more of these categories:

  • Blue and white china
  • Incense burner
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Carved metalwork
  • Decorated Glassware
  • Spice jar

Answer at least one of the questions below:

  1. Where is the object from? (guesses are fine)
  2. How did you obtain the object?
  3. Is there an interesting story behind your object?

Send us your object in one of four ways (you can find some inspiration from examples further below) :

1.  Send us a picture of your object with a short summary answering the questions above.

2. Create a still life or ‘portrait’ of your object(s) by staging and sending us a short summary answering the questions above. 

3.   Record a video of your object. Tell us the story of your object on a video!

Try to record in a room where there is minimal noise (such as radios, talking, cars, etc). On a smartphone, make sure the camera is set horizontally, not vertically.


4. Draw or paint an image of your object and send us a picture with a short summary answering the questions above.


Send all entries to For all films and high resolution images, please use a transfer service such as wetransfer. Alternatively, share them on social media and tag us:

By sending in your pictures or videos you consent for us to use them on social media and as part of our final films.

If you’re 16 OR UNDER, make sure you have consent from a parent, by getting them to fill out this form, and sending it along with your contribution. 

…& find more inspiration on our film on youtube:

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