|The British Museum|
|The thumbnails below are linked to larger pictures
The British Museum was originally founded on the collection of physician, naturalist and collector, Sir Hans Sloane (1660 - 1753). Sir Hans had assembled a collection of 71,000 objects together with a library and herbarium and he did not wish to see his collection dispersed upon his death. He bequeathed it to King George II for the nation, in return for the payment of £20,000 to his heirs.
In 1847 Robert Smirke designed the new spacious neoclassical building with its grand colonnaded facade, to house the ever expanding collection. The British Museum now displays antiquities from all over the world and is the most popular attraction in the capital. The museum contains a vast collection of treasures spanning two million years of world history and civilisation.
There are over 90 galleries stretching a total of some 2.5 miles grouped into specialised collections. These collections include Britain and Europe, Ancient Near East, Egypt and Sudan, Greece and Rome, America, and Asia. There are also themed galleries and temporary exhibitions.
The British Museum is the oldest and one of the largest museums in the world. The great treasures to be viewed within include The Elgin Marbles, The Portland Vase, The Sutton Hoo Treasure, The Lewis Chessmen and a fascinating collection of Egyptian Mummies, to mention just a few.
A recent improvement is the addition of the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, which was created in part of the space vacated by the Library, at the centre of the court is the restored reading room.
The two-acre square, enclosed by a spectacular glass roof, transforms the Museum's inner courtyard, with the world-famous Reading Room at its centre, into the largest covered public square in Europe. It has now become the much photographed focal point of the British Museum.
The British Museum can be found in Great Russell Street London WC1