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This amazing building has a huge number of rooms and exhibitions including some treasures taken from other countries in the distant past. A must-see for lovers of history and visitors to London.Russell D,
One of the greatest museum in London, if not in the world, a must visit museum. The British Museum is also one of the oldest museum in England and place for centuries of civilisations history. Established in 1753, its collections are formally largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane.
The museum opened its doors for the first time to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. The building at that time was much smaller and its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint. The building itself was designed The core of today’s building was designed by the architect Sir Robert Smirke in 1823. It's a quadrangle with four wings. Some additions have been done over the years, the last and may be more iconic one being the roof of the Great Court by architect Norman Foster.
Founded as a "universal museum", it's principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities. When the museum opened it was a new kind of museum without any connection neither with the church nor the king. The museum open freely to the public as its is still today, with the aim of collecting everything.
During the few years after its foundation the museum received several gifts. In 1772 it received its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778 it was the famous explorer James Cook who gave several objects from the South Seas followed by other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of previously unknown lands.
Today it no longer houses collections of natural history (now at the Natural History Museum) and the books and manuscripts are now in the British Library. The Museum nevertheless preserves its universality in its collections of artefacts representing the cultures of the world, ancient and modern. The original 1753 collection has grown to over thirteen million objects.
The museum is divided in several departments. You can spend there an hour or a day there will still be something you won't see but here are some masterpieces not to be missed.
Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan Highlights : Rosetta stone, Bust of Ramesses, mummies,
Department of Greece and Rome Highlights : Parthenon sculpture, Mausoleum of Halikarnassos,
Department of the Middle East Highlights : Assyrian Lion Hunt reliefs
Department of Prints and Drawings Highlights : drawing by Michelangelo and Leonard da Vinci.
Department of Prehistory and Europe Highlights : Lewis Chessmen, Sutton Hoo ship burial helmet
Department of Asia Highlights : Samurai armor, statues of Buddha.
Department of Africa Highlights : Tree of life, masks.
Oceania and the Americas Highlights : Turquoise serpent, Easter Island statue,
Department of Coins and Medals
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