British Museum

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he British Museum is a museum in London dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works,[3] is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence[3] and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.[a]

The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1881. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of controversy and of calls for restitution to their countries of origin.

Until 1997, when the British Library (previously centred on the Round Reading Room) moved to a new site, the British Museum housed both a national museum of antiquities and a national library in the same building. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions.[4] Since 2002 the director of the museum has been Neil MacGregor.[5]

Blog News for Germany

  • The Sword of Tiberius

    The so-called Sword of Tiberius is on display in Room 70, the Wolfson Gallery of the Roman Empire. It perfectly embodies Roman visual language and political propaganda, tied up with Rome’s foreign wars and the imperial succession. The sword was discovered in 1848 near the river Rhine, outside the German city of Mainz, which in […]


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Added on 25/11/2014 16:47:34

British Museum Blog

  • Suffrage objects in the British Museum

    In the British Museum archives, on yellowing paper and in compact, neat script, there is an application for admission to the Museum’s Reading Room. Dated 24 January 1908, the applicant wishes to ‘consult various Government Publications and other works to which I cannot obtain access’ with their ultimate aim to ‘obtain information on the employment […]

  • From history, with love… 14 objects to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day

    From Rodin’s masterpiece The Kiss to more secret signs of courtship and love of all kinds, let history and art sweep you off your feet this 14 February. Kissing might be a symbol of love in many parts of the world today, but that’s not always been the case – and even today it’s not […]

  • A processional chariot from south India

    In 1792, at auction rooms in London, the Indian collection of David Simpson went under the hammer. One of the more remarkable items was a large-scale model of a south Indian processional chariot, which was acquired by Charles Marsh, who gave it to the British Museum the following year. This fascinating object was displayed on […]

  • Suffragettes and the British Museum

    On 6 February 1918, the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed in the UK, enfranchising women over the age of 30 who met minimum property qualifications. About 8.4 million women gained the vote. It would be a further 10 years until the Representation of the People Act 1928 gave the vote to all women […]

  • Behind the scenes in the Museum’s archives

    The British Museum’s Central Archive holds the business and governance records of the Museum. This includes all records relating to who the Trustees are, how they are appointed and how they run and manage the Museum. The Archive has everything from the Deed of Trust which passed ownership of Hans Sloane’s collection to the Trustees […]

  • The British Museum Membercast: Living with gods

    Live screening – The Mediterranean and Atlantic from prehistory to AD 1500 The British Museum Membercast is a monthly podcast made available to ‘all studious and curious persons’. Comedian, podcaster and super-fan Iszi Lawrence (The Z List Dead List) presents snippets from exclusive Members’ lectures at the Museum, artfully woven together with interviews and her […]

  • Seeing stars: astrolabes and the Islamic world

    It’s not every day that you get to hold the universe in your hand. The closest that most of us get to this sensation is searching for something on our phones, but for the real deal, there’s nothing quite like an astrolabe. These devices – which range from pocket-sized and practical to weighty presentation pieces […]

  • Reading Margery Kempe’s inner voices

    The exhibition Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond contains many poignant and powerful reminders of the persistence and value of prayer. Whether uttered silently or aloud, words of devotion form part of a dialogue with a being whose existence can be understood (or denied) in different ways. In that sense, they are of great […]

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