As Senior Curator, Ian Jenkins has responsibility for the ancient Greek collections at the British Museum. He joined the British Museum in 1978 from the University of Bristol, where he read ancient Greek with archaeology and ancient history. While working at the Museum he wrote his PhD thesis on the collection history of its Egyptian, Assyrian and Classical sculptures. This thesis was published in 1992 as Archaeologists and Aesthetes in the Sculpture Galleries of the British Museum 1800-1939 (British Museum Press).
As well as writing their history, Dr Jenkins has published widely on the archaeology and art history, restoration and conservation history of the collections. His special interests include Greek architecture and sculpture, Ancient Greek social history, plaster casts after the antique and the collections of prints and drawings in the Department, notably the Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo, Townley archive and topographical drawings by various artists.
Dr Jenkins has completed a number of exhibition projects. These include: in 1983 the permanent exhibition of Greek and Roman Life (Room 69); in 1992 the permanent display of the Bassae Sculptures (Room 16); in 1995 the Hellenistic World (Room 22); in 1996, with Kim Sloan, the temporary exhibition, Vases and Volcanoes – Sir William Hamilton and his Collection; in 1998 the Parthenon Information Galleries (Rooms 18). In 2004-6 he led the refurbishment of the displays in the Greek galleries on the ground floor of the Museum (Rooms 13 – 20)
In 1998 Ian Jenkins was the Samuel H. Kress lecturer in ancient art for the archaeological Institute of America. He was also visiting professor at Cornell University.
Dr Jenkins has recently published a major new history of the Greek architecture and architectural Greek sculpture in the Museum. He leads the British Museum’s excavations at Cnidus (Knidos) in south-west Turkey and is currently preparing a loan exhibition about the ancient Greeks and their ancient Olympic games to travel to China in 2008.