May 19, 2024
British history museum_

British History Museum Collection, Tourist Guide: 30 Facts

The British Museum is not easy to find – it enhances the visual effect in front of the building with the lines of stone columns throughout your entire building and the multitude of crowds that travel around the world. Walking along the entrance to the British history museum where, through light-colored stone walls and elaborate glass-domed ceilings, the floor serves as a gateway to a world of historical sociological patterns throughout the world and throughout history – from Egyptian mummies to Leonardo da Vinci. Everything in the British History Museum up to the drawings. We will see what to expect at the British History Museum and what makes it special.

On this page, we will give you an overview of the British Museum in that you will find details about both permanent and temporary exhibits and tour options and shops. You will find galleries, parking lots, ticket prices, opening hours, and places to eat in and around the museum and its surroundings.

There are more than seven million artifacts in the British Museum that relate to sociological history around the world. Marble columns from the Parthenon to the Grecian vase. Throughout history, it has served as a symbol of colonial success in Britain.

Great Court of the British Museum

The Great Court of the Museum renovated on 28, offers a stunning setting – the space has dent-shaped domed glass ceilings with lap steel. The white ceilings and white walls in the space give it a surprisingly other earthly quality. The museum is a large and remote place, spread over four floors and about 35 rooms – you can get lost hours away in the rooms that take you here in history and around the world. It is known for its original patterns of housing throughout history. These include Egyptian mummies including Cleopatra from The Rosetta Stone, Thebes, and Amarna tablets.

Free access to the museum – You can stay here all day without spending a dime. Events have a range of events every day to keep historical patterns in mind. The program includes a selection of free specialist tours (working on a specific theme instead of trying to cover the entire museum), fashion design classes, and children’s sleepovers (see the official British Museum ‘What on ‘See the page.

A children’s activity in the British Museum

Deciding how to plan a trip to your museum is not always easy, so following the museum’s advice on how to share your time when you are staying is worth it. If you are planning a flying trip to the museum, check out the British Museum’s Official Guide on a One-Hour Trip to the Museum.

If you are planning to spend a bit more time at the museum, check out the guide to visit the museum within three hours of the British Museum. Also, if you are coming to the museum with the whole family, take a look at the British Museum’s Guide to Objects of Interest for Children.

Multimedia guide

The British History Museum has many different guides that will help you organize your visit to the museum. The multimedia guide will give you the chance to tour the museum the way you want and explore the areas of the museum that interest you.

The guide has the following features:

  • It gives details and information on more than 200 objects in the museum.
  • There are both audio comments and images.
  • A map will be offered on the hand-held set you are given so you can find your way around the gallery more easily.
  • Travel options include Pantheon sculptures, ancient Egypt, and Korea.

Available language options are English, French, Korean, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, and Mandarin. Learning Language Guide, Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening Skills.

A shop in the British Museum

Visit the Official British History Museum website’s Media Guide Tour page for a guide on how to find media guides, guide prices, and time guides you can pick up.

Shop

There are four separate stops in the British History Museum. These are bookshops, family shops, collection stores, and culture shops. Each store offers a separate selection of souvenirs, books, and even fashion. For a guide to the shops, visit the Shop page on the official British Museum website about what they have to offer, where they are, and operating hours.

Permanent Collection

The British Museum is an epic place that offers the chance to see symbols, art, and other artifacts from various places in history. See above for tips on some of the best ways to split time while you’re at the museum. Books, and literature on Amazon.

Collections can be divided into the following categories:

Leaders and rulers

  • Writing
  • The money
  • The animals
  • Homosexual desire and gender identity
  • Time

The museum also offers free temporary viewing. Regularly worth checking out these changes and what might happen during your travels To check out what’s going on when you’re planning to visit the museum, visit the Official British Museum’s website event page.

How to enter

The British History Museum is located in the heart of London. The nearest tube stop is Holborn. After leaving the Holborn Tube Station, on the lower left side of the High Holborn – this is a major road that sits directly outside the Tube Station. Continue walking until you find the road on the museum road to your right. Walk down Museum Street until you reach an outpost directly in front of you – this is what you’ll find in the British Museum. The journey should not take you more than five minutes.

Opening time

The British History Museum is open at:

Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 17:30

See below for information on eating places at the British History Museum for operating hours of cafes and restaurants at the British History Museum.

Great Court Restaurant

Ticket prices

The National Portrait Gallery is free for visitors.

Place to eat

There are three options for places in the British History Museum: two separate cafes and one more formal restaurant. See below for details on each place to eat:

Court Restaurant

The Court Restaurant offers you a chance to probably sit in the museum’s stunning location. You will sit directly under the court’s famous glass terrace (see above for more information). Like booking a table at this restaurant, it can get booked fast. You can come here for a formal lunch or afternoon tea.

See the British History Museum website Court Restaurant page for how to book, menu, and prices.

Opening time:

Monday to Sunday
Lunch: 11:30 – 15:00
Afternoon Tea: 15:00 – 17:30

Friday:
Dinner: 17:30 – 20:30

Gallery Cafe

The gallery cafe offers a more laid-back environment so you can keep affordable and fresh food. They serve hot food, snacks, pastries, and drinks. To see the full menu, visit the British History Museum website’s Gallery Cafe page. Ticket for Events.

Opening time:
During the day of the month
January – December Monday – Friday 08:00 – 20:00
Saturday 09:00 – 20:00
Sunday 09:00 – 19:00

An exhibition house of the British Museum

The court cafe

Throughout the museum, you will find a handful of canteen-style cafes where you can enjoy a sandwich, salads, light snacks, and hot and cold drinks. There is a cafe in the northeast corner of the building and a northwest corner. Visit the British History Museum Official Court Café page for more information.

Opening time:

Saturday – Thursday: 09:00 – 17:30
Friday: 09:00 – 20:00

Address and contact details

British Museum
Great Russell Street
London
WC1B3DG

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7323 8181

Email: [email protected]
Website: Official British History Museum website
Nearest tube stop
The nearest stop to the British History Museum is:
Tube: Holbein (Red Line / Central Line and Blue Line / Piccadilly Line)

Parking nearby

There is no car park directly at the British History Museum. It is also in the congestion charge zone – if you drive to the museum you will be charged a fee to drive in the center of London. Therefore, it is a good idea to take public transport to the museum. If this is not an option for you, the nearest car park to the British Museum is at Bloomsbury Square. For details on location and prices, visit the official British Museum website transportation page. Travel essentials, accessories, kits & items on Amazon.

30 Interesting Facts about the British Museum

The British Museum’s rich history is a testament to its enduring commitment to scholarship, culture, and the preservation of humanity’s collective heritage. Over the centuries, it has evolved, adapted, and expanded, yet its central mission remains the same: to inspire curiosity and provide access to the wonders of the world.

The British Museum: A Repository of History

The British Museum, founded in 1753 and opened to the public in 1759, boasts a history that predates the existence of the United States by 17 years. Established as the world’s oldest national public museum, it was initially intended to be accessible to all “studious and curious persons,” a principle it still upholds today. Over the years, the museum has evolved and undergone numerous changes, but it has remained a symbol of knowledge, culture, and heritage.

The British Museum on the Silver Screen

With a filmography that includes 15 movies, the British Museum has carved out a notable role in the world of cinema. Its debut on the silver screen dates back to 1921 with “The Wakefield Cause,” and it made another appearance in 1973’s Hollywood classic, “Day of the Jackal.” In 1929, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Blackmail” was shot within the Museum, pioneering the use of the Schüfftan process, a special effect involving mirrors to create the illusion of actors in a vast set. The museum also featured in “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” in 2014, where elaborate preparations, including 200 crew members, a 40-tonne crane, helium balloon lights, and even horses and monkeys, were orchestrated for three nights of filming. Each year, approximately 50 film crews utilize the museum as a backdrop for documentaries, music videos, and more, ensuring its continued presence in cinematic history.

The British Museum: The Largest Indoor Space on Google Street View

In November 2015, the British Museum set a modern record by becoming the largest indoor space available on Google Street View. Digitally mapped and presented, the museum can be explored at one’s leisure, offering virtual access to its vast collections from the comfort of one’s home or anywhere with an internet connection. Additionally, thousands of highlighted objects from the museum are featured on the Google Cultural Institute, enhancing accessibility to its treasures and knowledge.

The Railing Mystery: Not Black, but ‘Invisible Green’

While it may seem that the museum’s railings are black, they are, in fact, painted a color known as ‘invisible green.’ This hue is used on many historic railings throughout London, offering an interesting tidbit about the often-overlooked architectural elements of the museum.

The ‘Cabinet of Obscene Objects’

Referred to as the British Museum’s ‘porn room’ by some, the Secretum was a section of the museum opened in 1865 following the passage of the Obscene Publications Act in 1857. This space contained around 200 objects labeled as ‘abominable monuments to human licentiousness.’ Access to the Secretum was limited to gentlemen who could demonstrate ‘mature years and sound morals.’ Details about how this determination was made remain undocumented. While the Secretum no longer exists, its contents have been dispersed throughout the museum, with many on public display today. Moreover, some of these objects can be explored on the internet, without any age or moral prerequisites.

Celebrities in the Reading Room

The Reading Room at the British Museum has played host to a myriad of legendary cultural figures over the years. Its distinguished visitors include luminaries such as Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin (under the alias Jacob Richter), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, and Virginia Woolf. While the library they consulted is now part of the British Library at St Pancras, the echoes of their presence continue to resonate.

The Department of Prints and Drawings

The British Museum houses the nation’s collection of over 2 million prints and drawings, a treasure trove spanning from the 15th century to the present day. This extensive collection includes works by iconic artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Picasso, Munch, and Grayson Perry, making it a pivotal repository for Western artistic heritage.

Tutankhamun: A Historical Exhibition

In 1972, the British Museum hosted one of its most iconic exhibitions, “Treasures of Tutankhamun.” This event, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, attracted approximately 1.6 million visitors, capturing the imaginations of people from around the world. The exhibition showcased 50 objects, each representing one year since the discovery, with the famous gold death mask as its star attraction.

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The Museum That Almost Wasn’t

Before the British Museum could open its doors to the public, a suitable site needed to be secured. Surprisingly, one of the considered locations was Buckingham House, later rebuilt as Buckingham Palace. However, the museum’s Trustees ultimately chose Montague House, the site of the current museum. This decision altered the course of history, shaping London’s landmarks and preserving the British Museum’s legacy.

Continued Acquisition and Modern Contributions

While museums often conjure images of ancient artifacts, the British Museum continues to acquire objects, both ancient and modern. In 2015, the museum received a poignant modern acquisition: the Lampedusa Cross, crafted by an Italian carpenter using wood from boats that had carried refugees attempting to reach Europe. Additionally, in December 2016, the museum acquired a medieval alabaster sculpture of the Virgin and Child, hailing from the Midlands and dating back to the 1360s. These contemporary additions remind us that museums are dynamic institutions with evolving collections.

Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Japanese Galleries within the British Museum are not just a repository of artifacts but also a living space for culture. Twice a month, the Urasenke Foundation hosts traditional Japanese tea ceremonies within the galleries, allowing visitors to witness this unique and culturally significant practice. The ceremony offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich heritage and its enduring traditions.

Korean Scholar’s Study: A Fascinating Replica

In the Korean Gallery of the Museum, a full-size replica of a traditional Korean scholar’s study, known as a sarangbang, awaits exploration. Crafted by contemporary Korean master craftsmen in 2000, this reconstruction showcases traditional Korean architecture and offers a unique opportunity to step back in time. However, visitors are cautioned against accidentally triggering alarms while admiring this intricate exhibit.

The British Museum: The Nation’s Favorite Attraction

With approximately 6.5 million visitors annually, the British Museum holds the title of the UK’s most popular attraction, surpassing iconic institutions such as the Tate, the National Gallery, and even Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Its appeal transcends borders, drawing diverse crowds from around the world to its hallowed halls.

A Global Lender of Treasures

As a museum with a global perspective, the British Museum actively participates in sharing its collection with people worldwide. In the 2015/16 period alone, over 5,000 objects were loaned to institutions across the globe, solidifying its status as the most prolific lender of objects among museums worldwide. This commitment to global access ensures that the world’s heritage is accessible to as many people as possible.

A Century of Postcard Commerce

For over a century, the British Museum has featured a postcard shop, a testament to its enduring appeal as a destination for visitors and collectors alike. In 1911, the Trustees approved the introduction of picture postcards for sale, and by 1912, saleswomen were stationed at the stall. Despite early concerns about its size and location, the postcard stall has remained a fixture, offering visitors the opportunity to take a piece of the museum’s vast collection home with them as cherished mementos.

The Tube Station That Once Was

The British Museum had its very own underground station for more than 30 years. The British Museum tube station, which opened in 1900, was located just below the museum’s premises. However, it was closed in September 1933 when the new Holborn station, located less than 100 yards away, came into operation. The station’s existence is a testament to the historical importance and significance of the museum in the heart of London.

The Cat Guardian of the Museum

Unconventional as it may seem, the British Museum had a feline guardian named Mike. Between 1909 and 1929, Mike dutifully guarded the main gate of the museum. His unique role earned him not only local recognition but also an obituary in the Evening Standard and TIME magazine upon his passing. Mike’s presence adds a charming layer to the museum’s history.

Online Searches: More Than Just Opening Hours

While one might expect that most searches related to the British Museum’s website concern practical details like opening hours, the reality is quite different. The most searched-for terms are ‘Egypt’ and ‘shunga.’ The fascination with Egypt, given the museum’s extensive collection of mummies and artifacts, is understandable. However, ‘shunga,’ an explicit and intricate form of Japanese erotic art, draws significant interest, with approximately 40,000 annual searches. These preferences hint at the diverse curiosities of the museum’s online audience.

Progress of Civilization: An Architectural Tale

The pediment over the British Museum’s Main entrance tells a story of the ‘Progress of Civilization’ through eight stages. This architectural feature, designed and constructed in the 1850s, begins with an ignorant man emerging from a rock and progresses through stages of enlightenment, knowledge acquisition, and mastery of various disciplines, including architecture, science, geometry, drama, music, and poetry. Ultimately, ‘educated man’ emerges as the final figure, symbolizing humanity’s capacity to dominate the world through knowledge.

The British Museum’s Rare North Korean Collection

In the early 2000s, the British Museum embarked on an unprecedented endeavor to collect and preserve works of art from North Korea, building one of the most extensive collections of North Korean art in a Western museum. This collection includes a wide array of art forms, from woodblock prints and ink paintings to oil paintings, posters, calligraphy, ceramics, lacquer, and commemorative coins. These acquisitions offer a unique glimpse into North Korean culture and artistic expression.

The Challenge of Cleaning the Great Court

The Great Court of the British Museum boasts the title of being the largest covered square in Europe, a vast space crowned with a complex roof composed of 3,312 panes of glass. Maintaining this colossal structure is no small feat. To keep it pristine, a two-week-long process of cleaning the roof is undertaken periodically, ensuring that this architectural marvel continues to shine.

Mozart’s Visit to the Museum

In the 1760s, the musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, along with his family, visited the British Museum during their stay in London. This young genius dedicated his first sacred composition, ‘God is our Refuge’ (K. 20), during their visit. The manuscript for this composition, handwritten by both Mozart and his father, Leopold, remains preserved in the British Library’s collection, a testament to the Museum’s historical connection to remarkable figures of the past.

Birth of Sister Institutions

The British Museum grew so substantially over the years that it had to give birth to two other national institutions to manage its vast collections. Sir Hans Sloane’s natural history specimens were an integral part of the museum’s collection for over a century. In the 1880s, these collections were moved to a new site in South Kensington, becoming what is now known as the Natural History Museum. Similarly, the museum’s extensive collection of manuscripts and books led to the establishment of the British Library as a separate institution in 1973, which later relocated to its current building on Euston Road in 1997.

Entrance Exam for Staff: A Historical Perspective

In 1912, prospective staff members of the British Museum, who were part of the Civil Service, were required to sit a written entrance exam. These exams were specific to the department they aimed to work in, with candidates for roles such as Prints and Drawings or Coins and Medals having to answer questions related to their areas of expertise. The questions often delved into intricate details of art, history, and coinage. While the specifics of these exams have evolved over the years, the commitment to academic rigor and expertise remains a cornerstone of the institution.

Banksy’s Unofficial Exhibit

In May 2005, renowned street artist Banksy managed to discreetly place a rock, featuring a caveman with a shopping trolley, into the British Museum. This unauthorized addition to the museum’s collection went unnoticed for two days before being discovered. Banksy even provided his own sign, playfully suggesting that the cave painting depicted ‘early man venturing toward the out-of-town hunting grounds.’ The current whereabouts of this unconventional piece remain unknown.

A Snail’s Extraordinary Record

In an unexpected turn of events, a humble snail housed in the British Museum earned the world record for the longest suspended animation. The snail, donated in 1846 as part of a collection from Egypt and Greece, was initially affixed to cardboard for display. It remained in this state for four years until zoologist William Baird observed its attempt to protect itself by secreting a mucus-like membrane. The snail was rescued, reunited with a living partner, and lived until its natural demise in 1852, making it a true testament to the museum’s long-standing commitment to preserving natural history.

Early Adoption of Electric Lighting

The British Museum was at the forefront of technological advancements in its early years. In the late 19th century, when natural daylight was insufficient for illumination, the museum became one of the first public buildings in London to introduce electric lighting. In 1879, experimental electric lighting was introduced in various areas of the museum, including the Front Hall and the Reading Room. While the early system had its quirks, it marked a significant step toward providing consistent lighting for visitors, allowing the Reading Room to extend its hours during the winter months. Digital Electronic Gadgets all Modern Hot Sale on Amazon

Preservation During Wartime

During World War II, the British Museum took extensive measures to safeguard its treasures. Planning for the evacuation of its invaluable collections began as early as 1933. In 1938, work commenced on a bombproof tunnel in Aberystwyth, Wales, to protect the museum’s holdings. In August 1939, evacuation orders were issued, and the museum’s collection was carefully moved to various locations. While not everything could be saved, the museum’s efforts and the construction of the tunnel proved invaluable in preserving a significant portion of its treasures. Despite facing damage from air raids and incendiaries, the British Museum continued to endure as a guardian of history and knowledge.

A 4,000-Year-Old Customer Complaint

One of the most intriguing items in the British Museum’s collection is a Mesopotamian tablet dating back almost 4,000 years. The tablet contains what is quite possibly the world’s oldest customer complaint, penned by a disgruntled individual named Nanni. In this ancient grievance, Nanni expresses his dissatisfaction with the copper merchant Ea-Nasir’s services, accusing him of not delivering the promised quality of copper ingots and demanding recompense. This artifact, written in cuneiform, offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of commerce and complaints from millennia ago, reminding us that customer service disputes are indeed a timeless human experience.

Final thought

The British Museum is a place for the whole family because there is something for everyone. Take a look at what options are available to you before you travel and plan your trip accordingly – there is much to see in the museum, so it is a good idea to use the advice provided above to plan your visit to avoid getting overwhelmed. Once you have all your plans in place, you can relax and adjust your history. Visit the official website for details: https://www.britishmuseum.org/

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