Eagle Wings Vacations Journey to British Museum
The British Museum was founded in 1753, the first national public museum in the world. From
the beginning it granted free admission to all 'studious and curious persons'. Visitor numbers
have grown from around 5,000 a year in the eighteenth century to nearly 6 million today.
The British Museum is a museum in London dedicated to human history and culture. Its
permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is among the largest and most
comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the
story of human culture from its beginnings to the present
Founder :Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum
Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum
was founded as a "universal museum". Its foundations lie in the will of the physician and
naturalist Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753). During the course of his lifetime Sloane gathered an
enviable collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he
bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for the princely sum of £20,000.
At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some
40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337
volumes of dried plants, prints and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities
from Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
The gift was accepted and on 7 June 1753, an Act of Parliament established the British Museum.
The founding collections largely consisted of books, manuscripts and natural specimens with
some antiquities (including coins and medals, prints and drawings) and ethnographic material. In
1757 King George II donated the 'Old Royal Library' of the sovereigns of England and with it the
privilege of copyright receipt.
The British Museum opened to the public on 15 January 1759. It was first housed in a
seventeenth-century mansion, Montagu House, in Bloomsbury on the site of today's building.
Entry was free and given to ‘all studious and curious Persons’.
There are two entrances:
• The main entrance is on Great Russell Street. Here is located the information desk, where you
can find information about the museum and its collections.
• The other entrance is in the north of Montague Square.
• The museum is opened daily from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm.
• The museum is closed on 24, 25 and 26 December and 1 January
The Entrance to the museum is free for all visitors. There might be a fee for the temporary
exhibitions, but this information can be obtained from the information desk.
Top 10 Paintings in ancient British museum collections.
1 Virgin and Child with St Anne and John the Baptist
2 The Arnolfini Portrait
3 The Ambassadors
4 The Wilton Diptych
5 Rokeby Venus
6 Mystic Nativity
7 Supper at Emmaus
8 Young Woman Standing at a Virginal
9 A Woman Bathing in a Stream
10 Bathers at La Grenouillière
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