British Museum

The British Museum (BM; German British Museum ) in London is one of the largest and most important cultural history museums in the world.

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The museum came into being when in 1753 the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane on appropriated his extensive literary and art collection to the state. The Parliament voted to receive this collection under the name of the British Museum and to maintain. The museum was in Montagu House, a mansion in the former London's Bloomsbury area, set up, and opened its doors on 15 January 1759. Due to the collection steadily growing and increasing numbers of visitors, it was decided in 1824 the company moved into a larger, newly erected buildings. 1850, the move was completed, and the building had essentially its present form. Over time, different parts of the collection were transferred for reasons of space in other buildings.

The building

The Classicist, 1848, the museum building has a square floor plan with 3 floors and was designed by Robert Smirke. The planning of the courtyard of the museum ( Great Court ), which surrounds the reading room of the former British Library, was made by the architect Sir Norman Foster. The roof of the courtyard is a steel and glass structure, which consists of 1656 pair of glass plates and was completed in 2000 by the Austrian steel construction company Waagner -Biro. The courtyard is 7,100 square yard area of the largest covered public square in Europe.

The collections

The museum is now home to about eight million objects that document the entire history of human civilization from its beginning to the present day. It is famous among other things for its collection of Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. Some exhibits you can also touch, but only at certain times of the exhibition. As in any museum is the largest part of the collection is not in the showrooms, but is kept in magazines under the museum.

The museum's library currently includes approximately 350,000 volumes and is part of the British Library. An approximately 25,000 books comprehensive reference collection covering all fields in the reading room opened in 1857 set up that counts with its dome of the most famous in the world.

The museum's collections cover a period of two million years ago and are divided into approximately 94 individual collections.

Departments in the British Museum

  • Prehistory and Europe
  • Ancient Egypt and Sudan
  • Greek and Roman Antiquities
  • Africa, Oceania and the Americas
  • Asia
  • Coins and Medals

Famous works at the British Museum

  • The Elgin Marbles: Marble moldings and marble statues of the Athenian Parthenon
  • The Rosetta Stone
  • Egyptian mummies
  • Fries and statues from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  • Lindow Man
  • The collection of Marc Aurel Stein in Central Asia
  • Works on paper by Albrecht Dürer and Michelangelo
  • Artifacts from the boat grave Sutton Hoo
  • Nabonidus Chronicle
  • Wall reliefs from the palaces of Nineveh, Nimrud and Khorsabad, including the Lachish relief
  • The Cyrus cylinder, which is regarded as "the first Universal Declaration of Human Rights"
  • Benin bronzes
  • Standard of Ur
  • Battlefield Palette
  • Lewis Chessmen
  • The moai Hoa - haka -nana -ia, the most important statue of worship Orongo on Easter Island
  • The stone statue of the Aztec serpent of fire Xiuhcoatl

Rosetta Stone

Tara ( Bodhisattvi )


In 2010, the museum had 5,848,534 visitors. It reported in 2010 as a variety of commercial supporters. In fiscal year 2005/2006 the revenue was offset by ( 39.8 million pounds of government subsidy ) expenditure of 60.3 million pounds in the amount of 58.1 million pounds. This corresponds to a deficit equivalent to around 2.2 million euros.

General Information and Location

With the exception of a few months in 1972, and admission is free.

The museum located in the Great Russell Street is using the London Underground on the stations Holborn ( Central, Piccadilly Line) or Russell Square (Piccadilly Line ) to reach. The local station British Museum has been closed since 1933.


  • Museums in the world. The British Museum in London. A production of the Saarland Radio / TV, 46 ', 1984. Written and directed by Klaus Peter Dencker