As United Kingdom’s largest museum, the British Museum is undoubtedly one of the nation’s most visited attractions. The museum currently houses over seven-million historical objects, figures and artifacts – all of which came from many civilizations and some are as old as two-thousand years. Below are some of the most interesting British Museum Facts – some may not be known to some until now.
1. One of the most commonly known British Museum Facts is that it was first opened in Montague House (Bloomsbury) in 1754. The first museum sat exactly where the current one is. It was founded in 1753 and it started with Sir Hans Sloane’s collection of 71,000 objects (antiquities, national specimens and books).
2. The first structure became too small to house the growing collection and thus additions to the main building were built. The first to be added was the Townley Gallery, which was torn down later on and the Smirke Building has risen to become the building’s center that the visitors see today.
3. Interestingly, the Smirke Building was named after its designer, Sir Robert Smirke. The idea was conceived in 1823 and the style was Greek revival. One of the more interesting British Museum Facts here is that it took almost 30 years for the building to be completed.
4. In 1939, a new part of the museum was opened and it was called the Parthenon Galleries, designed by John Russell Pope. This part was built specifically to hold the Parthenon sculptures. It suffered though during the Second World War and rebuilding was required; reopening was in 1962. Some of the most popular attractions in the Parthenon Galleries are the Elgin Marbles, which is a collection of magnificent marble sculptures from the Parthenon, Athens.
5. The latest addition to the British Museum was the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court and it was opened in the year 2000. This part is eight thousand square meters and is covered by glass roof, projecting an indoor courtyard and at the center is the famous circular reading room. The huge open space, designed by Norman Foster and his partners makes it easy for museum visitors to access different parts of the building.
6. Millions of people visit this museum every year and that is one of the many interesting British Museum Facts. Due to the large size of the museum, it is very much possible to accommodate large number of visitors every day.
7. Today, there are more than 7,000,000 object and artifacts being kept safe inside the museum, but not everything get to be displayed all at once. The collection is rotated constantly so that the visitors can have something new to see with every visit.
8. As mentioned above, the British Museum is home to artifacts from different parts of the world, and among the most famous collections here are the statues, sarcophagi and mummies (even animal mummies) from Egypt, as well as the Egyptian Collection. The latter holds the Rosetta Stone, the popular tool used by Jean-François Champollion in to deciphering hieroglyphic writing.
Author: Tajirul Haque
Tajirul Haque is a travel enthusiast and freelance travel writer on Upwork. Having written hundreds of travel articles on so many travel destinations around the world for his clients, Tajirul started Top Travel Lists back in September 2014. Travel writing is his passion and he always loves to write about a new destination as it allows him to know about more beautiful places the planet has to offer. He is always available for freelance travel writing opportunities.