Rubbish reveals our environmental footprint.

To learn more, discover our selected contents on


Rubbish tells us about past and present societies.

To learn more, discover our selected contents on

#Everyday life

What looks like trash is actually treasure.

To learn more, discover our selected contents on

#Trash Or Treasure

Some people reuse rubbish instead of throwing it away.

To learn more, discover our selected contents on


Blog & Events
Blog & Events

LIST OF [[app.bookmarks.length]] ELEMENTS


Lara Maiklem on the bank of the river Thames. Photo © Tom Harrison

What Lecture

How Hybrid

Where Brussels, Belgium

When 2023/09/14
19:00 to 20:00

Audience Adults and Young Adults

Language English

Duration 1 hour (from 19:00 to 20:00 CET)

Recording of the expert talk of 14 September 2023 is now available. Press "play" above to start watching it.


This is the first of a series of hybrid expert talks connected to the temporary exhibition Throwaway – the history of a modern crisis.

Lara Maiklem kickstarted this series by giving her unique insights about mudlarking: the practice of scouring riverbeds to search for objects from the past.

Lara Maiklem was one of the first persons to share in detail on social media the art of ‘mudlarking’ through her London Mudlark accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Mudlarking involves scavenging in river mud to search for valuable objects, a common practice in the 19th century that is still done today. The River Thames in London – as other cities’ rivers – has always been one of the final places where different kinds of rubbish end up.

By looking where others do not normally look, Lara Maiklem finds thrown away objects that tell tales of the past, bring forgotten people to life and uncover hidden stories. In this online and in-person expert talk, she shared with the audience the wonders she has found on the banks of the River Thames.

From historical objects, such as disposable clay pipes – the equivalent of modern cigarette butts ! – to modern waste, what does rubbish tell us about societies’ past, present and future?

To know more about the topcic, watch this 3-minute video. Books by the author are available for purchase at the museum shop.


Co-organised with partner museums who created a pan-European program around waste, this “Throwaway” series of hybrid talks will continue until the end of 2023, with experts on:

  • Impact of fast fashion

30 September 2023, at Muséee de la Vie Wallone in Liège

  • Environmental activism

18 October 2023, at Muzej novejše zgodovine in Celje

  • Digital Waste

Autumn 2023, at Państwowe Muzeum Etnograficzne in Warsaw




Follow us on social media for updates!