British Museum

Category: Museums and libraries

The British Museum in London is one of the world’s largest and most important museums of human history and culture. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects from all continents, illustrate and document the story of human culture from its beginning to the present.

As with all other national museums and art galleries in Britain, the Museum charges no admission fee, although charges are levied for some temporary special exhibitions.

It was established in 1753 and was based largely on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1887.

Until 1997, when the British Library opened to the public, the British Museum was unique in that it housed both a national museum of antiquities and a national library in the same building. Its present chairman is Sir John Boyd and its director is Neil MacGregor.


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