22 Facts About British Museum


British Museum is a public museum dedicated to human history, art and culture located in the Bloomsbury area of London.

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British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the Anglo-Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane.

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The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, and the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford.

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Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Museum Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf.

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British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king, freely open to the public and aiming to collect everything.

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In 1816 these masterpieces of western art were acquired by the British Museum by Act of Parliament and deposited in the museum thereafter.

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British Museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through a three-year funding agreement.

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The British Museum was run from its inception by a 'principal librarian', a role that was renamed 'director and principal librarian' in 1898, and 'director' in 1973 (on the separation of the British Library).

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Queen Elizabeth II Great Court is a covered square at the centre of the British Museum designed by the engineers Buro Happold and the architects Foster and Partners.

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The British Museum conducted its own excavations in Egypt where it received divisions of finds, including Asyut, Mostagedda and Matmar (1920s), Ashmunein (1980s) and sites in Sudan such as Soba, Kawa and the Northern Dongola Reach (1990s).

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British Museum has one of the world's largest and most comprehensive collections of antiquities from the Classical world, with over 100, 000 objects.

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British Museum later uncovered the Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh with 'no less than seventy-one halls'.

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British Museum discovered the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, a large collection of cuneiform tablets of enormous importance that today number around 130, 000 pieces.

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The great eleven volume Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum compiled between 1870 and 1954 is the definitive reference work for the study of British Satirical prints.

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The British Museum is fortunate in having some of the earliest Oceanic and Pacific collections, many of which were put together by members of Cook's and Vancouver's expeditions or by colonial administrators and explorers such as Sir George Grey, Sir Frederick Broome, Joseph Bradshaw, Robert Christison, Gregory Mathews, Frederick Meinertzhagen, Thomas Mitchell and Arthur Gordon, before Western culture significantly impacted on indigenous cultures.

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British Museum is home to one of the world's finest numismatic collections, comprising about a million objects, including coins, medals, tokens and paper money.

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British Museum Press is the publishing business and a division of the British Museum Company Ltd.

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In 2010 Neil MacGregor, the former Director of the British Museum, said he hoped that both British and Chinese investigators would work together on the controversial collection.

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British Museum has stated that the "restitutionist premise, that whatever was made in a country must return to an original geographical site, would empty both the British Museum and the other great museums of the world".

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The museum has argued that the British Museum Act of 1963 prevents any object from leaving its collection once it has entered it.

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In February 2020, 1, 500 demonstrators, including British Museum staff, took part in a day of protest over the issue, occupying 11 of the museum's rooms.

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British Museum has a collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the collection online.

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