The British Museum

About The British Museum

The British Museum came first in the legacy of national museums. It documents the story of human culture that has ranged from the earliest human presence to the present. It's one of only two extant institutions whose heritage as a national museum is 100 years old.

As the first museum for the United Kingdom, it was based on the collections of the British physician, scientist and collector Sir Hans Sloane. It was established in 1753, and first opened to the public in 1759.

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History of The British Museum


It was founded in part because of British colonialism and owing to a period of "constant acquisitions in a period of rapid expansion". This has resulted in an enormous expansion of the organisation into several separate branches, or independent institutions. The first being the National History museum in 1881.

The British Library in England continued its cultural mission even after it was removed from the British Museum in 1973. The British Museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport; The British Museum does charge admission for exhibits.

Two hundred years later, it was added to the Friends of Natural History (formerly the British Museum) in 1967, which is home to over 2,00,000 specimens. In 1973, the British Library Act separated the library portion of the British Museum. But it kept the British Library in the same Reading Room and building, and thus it continues to charge no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. 

The British Museum is a museum for a minded, curious world citizen with a wide range of interests. It was founded in 1753 by Dr. Hans Sloane as a universal museum, not just for the Upper Class or British culture or art. They hoped that access to the Museum's collections by everyone would broaden people's horizons. 

But the British Museum is still a world cultural treasure. Their collections include art and ancient perspectives as well as natural history.At the time, Sloane's precious collection contained around 71,000 items, including nearly 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts and some of the world's greatest natural history specimens including reptile and amphibian skins from the Old, New and Far East, Indonesia and a pair of intricately carved wooden heads from the African continent.

On 7 June 1753, King George the Second gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which (among other things) established the British Museum.The Act set up three additional libraries especially for the collection of old books. They included the library of Sir Robert Cotton, a collector during Elizabethan times, and the library of the noble Earl of Oxford, whom Elizabeth made Poet Laureate in 1675. 

The Old Royal library was assembled from the books of various British monarchs — King Henry VII, King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, the Stuart poet and scholar Andrew Marvell, and King William. It included priceless. Before Sloane, the British national museum was small, but it had brilliant curators and its great collections were slowly put to use. 

The Cotton MSS and Harley Manuscripts add literary and antiquarian elements that make the public think of an international version of the library and math sector combined. Visitors can have fun looking for literary manuscripts, and the collection is intended to make them hard-core scholars as well as passionate readers.

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Travelling to the British Museum

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