British Museum

Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
Admission: Free
Free Entry
Wheelchair Access
Late Opening
Good for Kids
Recommended
Has Temporary Exhibitions
Has Permanent Collection
 

Opening Times

Monday: 1000 - 1730
Tuesday: 0900 - 1730
Wednesday: 1000 - 1730
Thursday: 0900 - 1730
Friday: 1000 - 2030
Saturday: 0900 - 1730
Sunday: 1000 - 1730
Closed January 1, December 24-26.
Opening times and days may vary please check their program and schedule.
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  • British Museum
  • British Museum

Map / Location
Transport Info

Transport Info

Tube : Holborn (Central line & Picadilly line) or Russell Square (Picadilly line).

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

© British Museum modified by A Drop of Art
Past exhibitions at British Museum - now closed:
Ancient lives new discoveries 22nd May 2014 - 12th Jul 2015
Beyond El Dorado power and gold in ancient Colombia 17th Oct 2013 - 23rd Mar 2014
Bonaparte and the British prints and propaganda in the age of Napoleon 5th Feb 2015 - 16th Aug 2015
Connecting continents: Indian Ocean trade and exchange 27th Nov 2014 - 31st May 2015
Defining Beauty the body in Ancient Greek Art 26th Mar 2015 - 5th Jul 2015
From the figurative to the abstract modern art from the Arab World 11th Jul 2015 - 8th Nov 2015
Germany: memories of a nation - A 600-year history in objects 16th Oct 2014 - 25th Jan 2015
Shifting patterns: Pacific barkcloth clothing 5th Feb 2015 - 6th Dec 2015
Shunga sex and pleasure in Japanese art 3rd Oct 2013 - 5th Jan 2014
The BP exhibition Ming 50 years that changed China 18th Sep 2014 - 5th Jan 2015
Triumph and disaster medals of the Sun King 4th Jun 2015 - 15th Nov 2015
Vikings Life and legends 6th Mar 2014 - 22nd Jun 2014
Witches and wicked bodies 25th Sep 2014 - 11th Jan 2015