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The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture situated in Londonmarker. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginning to the present.

The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu Housemarker in Bloomsburymarker, 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 of Natural Historymarker in South Kensingtonmarker in 1887. Until 1997, when the current British Librarymarker building opened to the public, replacing the old British Museum Reading Roommarker, the British Museum was unique in that it housed both a national museum of antiquities and a national library in the same building.

The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.As with all other national museums and art galleries in the United Kingdommarker, the Museum charges no admission fee, although charges are levied for some temporary special exhibitions. Since 2001 the director of the Museum has been Neil MacGregor.


Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum

Though principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities today, 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.

Foundation (1753)

On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his formal assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The Foundation Act, added two other libraries to the Sloane collection. The Cottonian Librarymarker, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dated back to Elizabethan times and the Harleian library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford. They were joined in 1757 by the Royal Library, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving copy of Beowulf.

The 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. Sloane's collection, whilst including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests. The addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both national museum and library.

Cabinet of curiosities (1753-78)

The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu Housemarker, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The Trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palacemarker, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location.

With the acquisition of Montagu House the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. In 1757 King George II gave the Old Royal Librarymarker and with it the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the Museum's library would expand indefinitely. The predominance of natural history, books and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the Museum acquired its first antiquities of note; Sir William Hamilton's collection of Greek vases. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays, but yet contained few ancient relics recognisable to visitors of the modern museum.

Indolence and energy (1778-1800)

Colossal Marble Foot

From 1778 a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of previously unknown lands. The bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins, prints and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the Museum's reputation; but Montagu House became increasingly crowded and decrepit and it was apparent that it would be unable to cope with further expansion.

The museum’s first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803), British Ambassador to Naplesmarker, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to the museum in 1784 together with a number of other antiquities and natural history specimens. A list of donations to the Museum, dated 31 January 1784 refers to the Hamilton bequest of a "Colossal Foot of an Apollo in Marble". It was one of two antiquities of Hamilton's collection drawn for him by Francesco Progenie, a pupil of Pietro Fabris, who also contributed a number of drawings of Mount Vesuvius sent by Hamilton to the Royal Society in Londonmarker.

Growth and change (1800-25)

The Rosetta Stone on display in the British Museum in 1874
In the early 19th century the foundations for the extensive collection of sculpture began to be laid and Greek, Roman and Egyptian artefacts dominated the antiquities displays. After the defeat of the French Campaign in the Battle of the Nilemarker, in 1801, the British Museum acquired more Egyptian sculpture and in 1802 King George III presented the Rosetta Stone – key to the deciphering of hieroglyphs. Gifts and purchases from Henry Salt, British Consul General in Egypt, beginning with the Colossal bust of Ramesses II in 1818, laid the foundations of the collection of Egyptian Monumental Sculpture. Many Greek sculptures followed, notably the first purpose-built exhibition space, the Charles Towneley collection, much of it Roman Sculpture, in 1805. In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803 removed the large collection of marble sculptures from the Parthenonmarker, on the Acropolismarker in Athensmarker and transferred them to the UK. In 1816 these masterpieces of western art, were acquired by The British Museum by Act of Parliament and deposited in the museum thereafter. The collections were supplemented by the Bassaemarker frieze from Phigaleia, Greecemarker in 1815. The Ancient Near Eastern collection also had its beginnings in 1825 with the purchase of Assyrian and Babylonian antiquities from the widow of Claudius James Rich.

In 1802 a Buildings Committee was set up to plan for expansion of the museum, and further highlighted by the donation in 1822 of the King's Library, personal library of King George III's, comprising 65,000 volumes, 19,000 pamphlets, maps, charts and topographical drawing. The neoclassical architect, Sir Robert Smirke, was asked to draw up plans for an eastern extension to the Museum "... for the reception of the Royal Librarymarker, and a Picture Gallery over it ..." and put forward plans for today's quadrangular building, much of which can be seen today. The dilapidated Old Montagu Housemarker was demolished and work on the King's Library Gallery began in 1823. The extension, the East Wing, was completed by 1831. However, following the founding of the National Gallery, Londonmarker in 1824, the proposed Picture Gallery was no longer needed, and the space on the upper floor was given over to the Natural History collections.

The largest building site in Europe (1825-50)

The Museum became a construction site as Sir Robert Smirke's grand neo-classical building gradually arose. The King's Library, on the ground floor of the East Wing, was handed over in 1827, and was described as one of the finest rooms in Londonmarker although it was not fully open to the general public until 1857, however, special openings were arranged during The Great Exhibition of 1851. In spite of dirt and disruption the collections grew, outpacing the new building.

Archaeological excavations

In 1840 the Museum became involved in its first overseas excavation, Charles Fellows's expedition to Xanthosmarker, in Asia Minormarker, whence came remains of the tombs of the rulers of ancient Lycia, among them the Nereid and Payava monuments. In 1857 Charles Newton was to discover the 4th-century BC Mausoleum of Halikarnassosmarker, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the 1840s and 1850s the Museum supported excavations in Assyria by A.H. Layard and others at sites such as Nimrudmarker and Ninevehmarker. Of particular interest to curators was the eventual discovery of Ashurbanipal's great library of cuneiform tablets, which helped to make the Museum a focus for Assyrian studies.

Sir Thomas Grenville (1755–1846), a Trustee of The British Museum from 1830, assembled a fine library of 20,240 volumes, which he left to the Museum in his will. The books arrived in January 1847 in twenty-one horse-drawn vans. The only vacant space for this large library was a room originally intended for manuscripts, between the Front Entrance Hall and the Manuscript Saloon. The books remained here until the British Library moved to St Pancrasmarker in 1998.

Collecting from the wider world (1850-75)

The opening of the forecourt in 1852 marked the completion of Robert Smirke's 1823 plan, but already adjustments were having to be made to cope with the unforeseen growth of the collections. Infill galleries were constructed for Assyrian sculptures and Sydney Smirke's Round Reading Roommarker, with space for a million books, opened in 1857. Because of continued pressure on space the decision was taken to move natural history to a new building in South Kensingtonmarker, which would later become the British Museum of Natural Historymarker.

Roughly contemporary with the construction of the new building was the career of a man sometimes called the "second founder" of the British Museum, the Italian librarian Anthony Panizzi. Under his supervision, the British Museum Library (now the British Librarymarker) quintupled in size and became a well-organised institution worthy of being called a national library, the largest library in the world after the National Library of Parismarker. The quadrangle at the centre of Smirke's design proved to be a waste of valuable space and was filled at Panizzi's request by a circular Reading Room of cast iron, designed by Smirke's brother, Sydney Smirke.
Until the mid 19th century, the Museum's collections were relatively circumscribed but, in 1851, with the appointment to the staff of Augustus Wollaston Franks to curate the collections, the Museum began for the first time to collect British and European medieval antiquities, prehistory, branching out into Asia and diversifying its holdings of ethnography. Overseas excavations continued and John Turtle Wood discovered the remains of the 4th century BC Temple of Artemismarker at Ephesosmarker, another Wonder of the Ancient World.

Scholarship and legacies (1875-1900)

The natural history collections were an integral part of the British Museum until their removal to the new British Museum of Natural History, now the Natural History Museummarker, in 1887. With the departure and the completion of the new White Wing (fronting Montague Street) in 1884, more space was available for antiquities and ethnography and the library could further expand. This was a time of innovation as electric lighting was introduced in the Reading Room and exhibition galleries.

In 1882 the Museum was involved in the establishment of the independent Egypt Exploration Fund (now Society) the first British body to carry out research in Egypt. A bequest from Miss Emma Turner in 1892 financed excavations in Cyprus. In 1897 the death of the great collector and curator, A.W. Franks, was followed by an immense bequest of 3,300 finger rings, 153 drinking vessels, 512 pieces of continental porcelain, 1,500 netsuke, 850 inro, over 30,000 bookplates and miscellaneous items of jewellery and plate, among them the Oxus Treasure.

In 1898 Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bequeathed the glittering contents from his New Smoking Room at Waddesdon Manormarker. This consisted of almost 300 pieces of objets d'art et de vertu which included exquisite examples of jewellery, plate, enamel, carvings, glass and maiolica, in the tradition of a schatzkammermarker or treasure houses such as those formed by the Renaissance princes of Europe. Baron Ferdinand's will was most specific, and failure to observe the terms would make it void, the collection should be

New century, new building (1900-25)

By the last years of the nineteenth century, The British Museum's collections had increased so much that the Museum building was no longer big enough for them. In 1895 the trustees purchased the 69 houses surrounding the Museum with the intention of demolishing them and building around the West, North and East sides of the Museum. The first stage was the construction of the northern wing beginning 1906.

All the while, the collections kept growing. Emily Torday collected in Central Africa, Aurel Stein in Central Asia, D.G. Hogarth, Leonard Woolley and T. E. Lawrence excavated at Carchemishmarker. In 1918, because of the threat of wartime bombing, some objects were evacuated to a Postal Tube Railway at Holborn, the National Library of Wales marker and a country house near Malvernmarker. On the return of antiquities from wartime storage in 1919 some objects were found to have deteriorated. A temporary conservation laboratory was set up in May 1920 and became a permanent department in 1931. It is today the oldest in continuous existence. In 1923 the British Museum welcomed over one million visitors.

Disruption and reconstruction (1925-50)

New mezzanine floors were constructed and book stacks rebuilt in an attempt to cope with the flood of books. In 1931 the art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen offered funds to build a gallery for the Parthenon sculptures. Designed by the American architect John Russell Pope, it was completed in 1938. The appearance of the exhibition galleries began to change as dark Victorian reds gave way to modern pastel shades. However, in August 1939, due to the imminence of war and the likelihood of air-raids the Parthenon Sculptures along with Museum's most valued collections were dispersed to secure basements, country houses, Aldwych tube stationmarker, the National Library of Walesmarker and a quarry. The evacuation was timely, for in 1940 the Duveen Gallery was severely damaged by bombing. The Museum continued to collect from all countries and all centuries: among the most spectacular additions were the 2,600 BC Mesopotamian treasure from Urmarker, discovered during Leonard Woolley's 1922–34 excavations. Gold, silver and garnet grave goods from the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoomarker (1939) and late Roman silver tableware from Mildenhall, Suffolk (1946). The immediate post-war years were taken up with the return of the collections from protection and the restoration of the museum after the blitz. Work also began on restoring the damaged Duveen Gallery.

A new public face (1950-75)

In 1953 the Museum celebrated its bicentenary. Many changes followed: the first full time in house designer and publications officer were appointed in 1964, A Friends organisation was set up in 1968, an Education Service established in 1970 and publishing house in 1973. In 1963 a new Act of Parliament introduced administrative reforms. It became easier to lend objects, the constitution of the Board of Trustees changed and the Natural History Museummarker became fully independent. By 1959 the Coins and Medals office suite, completely destroyed during the war, was rebuilt and re-opened, attention turned towards the gallery work with new tastes in design leading to the remodelling of Robert Smirke's Classical and Near Eastern galleries. In 1962 the Duveen Gallery was finally restored and the Parthenon Sculptures were moved back into it, once again at the heart of the museum.

By the 1970s the Museum was again expanding. More services for the public were introduced; visitor numbers soared, with the temporary exhibition "Treasures of Tutankhamun" in 1972, attracting 1,694,117 visitors, the most successful in British history. In the same year the Act of Parliament establishing the British Library was passed, separating the collection of manuscripts and printed books from the British Museum. This left the Museum with antiquities; coins, medals and paper money; prints & drawings; and ethnography. A pressing problem was finding space for additions to the library which now required an extra 1 1/4 miles of shelving each year. The Government suggested a site at St Pancrasmarker for the new British Library but the books did not leave the museum until 1997.

The Great Court emerges (1975-2000)

The departure of the British Library to a new site at St Pancrasmarker, finally achieved in 1998, provided the space needed for the books. It also created the opportunity to redevelop the vacant space in Robert Smirke's 19th-century central quadrangle into the Queen Elizabeth II Great Courtmarker – the largest covered square in Europe – which opened in 2000.

The ethnography collections, which had been housed in the short-lived Museum of Mankindmarker at 6 Burlington Gardens from 1970, were returned to new purpose-built galleries.

The Museum again readjusted its collecting policies as interest in "modern" objects: prints, drawings, medals and the decorative arts reawakened. Ethnographical fieldwork was carried out in places as diverse as New Guineamarker, Madagascarmarker, Romaniamarker, Guatemalamarker and Indonesiamarker and there were excavations in the Near East, Egypt, Sudan and the UK. The Weston Gallery of Roman Britain, opened in 1997, displayed a number of recently discovered hoards which demonstrated the richness of what had been considered an unimportant part of the Roman Empire. The Museum turned increasingly towards private funds for buildings, acquisitions and other purposes.

The Museum today

The Museum was founded 250 years ago as an encyclopædia of nature and of art. Today it no longer houses collections of natural history, and the books and manuscripts it once held now form part of the independent British Library. The Museum nevertheless preserves its universality in its collections of artefacts representing the cultures of the world, ancient and modern. The original 1753 collection has grown to over thirteen million objects at the British Museum, 70 million at the Natural History Museummarker and 150 million at the British Library.

The Round Reading Roommarker, which was designed by the architect Sydney Smirke, opened in 1857. For almost 150 years researchers came here to consult the Museum's vast library. The Reading Room closed in 1997 when the national library (the British Library) moved to a new building at St Pancrasmarker. Today it has been transformed into the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Centre. This contains the Paul Hamlyn Library of books about the Museum's collections, which is open to all visitors.

With the bookstacks in the central courtyard of the museum now empty, the process of demolition for Lord Foster's glass-roofed Great Courtmarker could begin. The Great Court, opened in 2000, while undoubtedly improving circulation around the museum, was criticised for having a lack of exhibition space at a time when the museum was in serious financial difficulties and many galleries were closed to the public. At the same time the African and Oceanic collections that had been temporarily housed in 6 Burlington Gardens were given a new gallery in the North Wing funded by the Sainsbury family.


In technical terms, the British Museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through a three-year funding agreement. Its head is the Director. The British Museum was run from its inception by a 'Principal Librarian' (when the book collections were still part of the Museum), a role that was renamed 'Director and Principal Librarian' in 1898, and 'Director' in 1973 (on the separation of the British Library).

A board of 25 trustees (with the Director as their accounting officer for the purposes of reporting to Government) is responsible for the general management and control of the Museum, in accordance with the British Museum Act of 1963 and the Museums and Galleries Act of 1992. Prior to the 1963 Act, it was chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons. The board was formed on the Museum's inception to hold its collections in trust for the nation without actually owning them themselves, and now fulfil a mainly advisory role. Trustee appointments are governed by the regulatory framework set out in the code of practice on public appointments issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For a list of current trustees, see here.


The entrance to the museum
The Greek Revival façade facing Great Russell Street is a characteristic building of Sir Robert Smirke, with 44 columns in the Ionic order high, closely based on those of the temple of Athena Polias at Prienemarker in Asia Minormarker. The pediment over the main entrance is decorated by sculptures by Sir Richard Westmacott depicting The Progress of Civilisation, consisting of fifteen allegorical figures, installed in 1852.

The construction commenced around the courtyard with the East Wing (The King's Library) in 1823–1828, followed by the North Wing in 1833–1838, which originally housed among other galleries a reading room, now the Wellcome Gallery. Work was also progressing on the northern half of the West Wing (The Egyptian Sculpture Gallery) 1826–1831, with Montagu Housemarker demolished in 1842 to make room for the final part of the West Wing, completed in 1846, and the South Wing with its great colonnade, initiated in 1843 and completed in 1847, when the Front Hall and Great Staircase were opened to the public. The Museum is faced with Portland stone, but the perimeter walls and other parts of the building were built using Haytormarker granite from Dartmoor in South Devon, transported via the unique Haytor Granite Tramwaymarker.

In 1846 Robert Smirke was replaced as the Museum's architect by his brother Sydney Smirke, whose major addition was the Round Reading Roommarker 1854–1857; at in diameter it was then the second widest dome in the world, the Pantheonmarker in Romemarker being slightly wider.

The next major addition was the White Wing 1882–1884 added behind the eastern end of the South Front, the architect being Sir John Taylor.

Proposed British Museum Extension, 1906

In 1895, Parliament gave the Museum Trustees a loan of £200,000 to purchase from the Duke of Bedford all 69 houses which backed onto the Museum building in the five surrounding streets - Great Russell Street, Montague Street, Montague Place, Bedford Square and Bloomsbury Street. The Trustees planned to demolish these houses and to build around the West, North and East sides of the Museum new galleries that would completely fill the block on which the Museum stands. The architect Sir John James Burnet was petitioned to put forward ambitious long-term plans to extend the building on all three sides. Most of the houses in Montague Place were knocked down a few years after the sale. Of this grand plan only the Edward VII galleries in the centre of the North Front were ever constructed, these were built 1906-14 to the design by J.J. Burnet, and opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1914. They now house the Museum's collections of Prints and Drawings and Oriental Antiquities. There was not enough money to put up more new buildings, and so the houses in the other streets are nearly all still standing.

The British Museum, Great Court

The Duveen Gallery, sited to the west of the Egyptian, Greek & Assyrian sculpture galleries, was designed to house the Elgin Marbles by the American Beaux-Arts architect John Russell Pope. Although completed in 1938, it was hit by a bomb in 1940 and remained semi-derelict for 22 years, before reopening in 1962. Other areas damaged during World War II bombing included: in September 1940 two unexploded bombs hit the Edward VII galleries, the King's Library received a direct hit from a high explosive bomb, incendiaries fell on the dome of the Round Reading Room but did little damage; on the night of 10 to 11 May 1941 several incendiaries fell on the south west corner of the Museum, destroying the book stack and 150,000 books in the courtyard and the galleries around the top of the Great Staircase – this damage was not fully repaired until the early 1960s.

The 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. The Great Court opened in December 2000 and is the largest covered square in Europe. The roof is a glass and steel construction with 1,656 uniquely shaped panes of glass. At the centre of the Great Court is the Reading Room vacated by the British Library, its functions now moved to St Pancras. The Reading Room is open to any member of the public who wishes to read there.

Today, the British Museum has grown to become one of the largest Museums in the world, covering an area of over 75,000 m² of exhibition space, showcasing approximately 50,000 items from its collection. There are nearly one hundred galleries open to the public, representing of exhibition space, although the less popular ones have restricted opening times. However, the lack of a large temporary exhibition space has led to the £100 million World Conservation and Exhibition Centre to provide one and to concentrate all the Museum's conservation facilities into one Conservation Centre. This project was announced in July 2007, with the architects Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, and is expected for completion by 2011.


Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan

The British Museum houses the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Egyptian antiquities outside the Egyptian Museummarker in Cairomarker and the Museo Egiziomarker in Turinmarker. A collection of immense importance for its range and quality, it includes objects of all periods from virtually every site of importance in Egypt and the Sudan. Together they illustrate every aspect of the cultures of the Nile Valley (including Nubia), from the Predynastic Neolithic period (c. 10,000 BC) through to the Coptic times (12th century AD), a time-span over 11,000 years.

Egyptian antiquities have formed part of the British Museum collection ever since its foundation in 1753 after receiving 160 Egyptian objects from Sir Hans Sloane. After the defeat of the French forces under Napoleon at the Battle of the Nilemarker in 1801, the Egyptian antiquities collected were confiscated by the British army and presented to the British Museum in 1803. These works, which included the famed Rosetta Stone, were the first important group of large sculptures to be acquired by the Museum. Thereafter, the UK appointed Henry Salt as consul in Egyptmarker who amassed a huge collection of antiquities. Most of the antiquities Salt collected were purchased by the British Museum and the Musée du Louvremarker. By 1866 the collection consisted of some 10,000 objects. Antiquities from excavations started to come to the Museum in the later 19th century as a result of the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund under the efforts of E.A. Wallis Budge. The collection stood at 57,000 objects by 1924. Active support by the Museum for excavations in Egypt continued to result in useful acquisitions throughout the 20th century until changes in antiquities laws in Egypt led to the suspension of policies allowing finds to be exported. The size of the Egyptian collections now stands at over 110,000 objects.

In autumn 2001 the eight million objects forming the Museum's permanent collection were further expanded by the addition of six million objects from the Wendorf Collection of Egyptian and Sudanese Prehistory. These were donated by Professor Fred Wendorf of Southern Methodist Universitymarker in Texasmarker, and comprise the entire collection of artefacts and environmental remains from his excavations between 1963 and 1997. They are in the care of the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan.

The seven permanent Egyptian galleries at the British Museum, which include its largest exhibition space (Room 4, for monumental sculpture), can display only 4% of its Egyptian holdings. The second-floor galleries have a selection of the Museum's collection of 140 mummies and coffins, the largest outside Cairomarker. A high proportion of the collection comes from tombsmarker or contexts associated with the cult of the dead, and it is these pieces, in particular the mummies, that remain among the most eagerly sought after exhibits by visitors to the Museum.

Key highlights of the collections Include:

  • The Rosetta Stone (196 BC)
  • Limestone statue of a husband and wife (1300 BC)
  • Colossal bust of Ramesses II, the "Younger Memnon" (1250 BC)
  • Colossal granite head of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)
  • Colossal head from a statue of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)
  • Colossal limestone bust of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)
  • Fragment of the beard of the Great Sphinxmarker (1300 BC)
  • Mummy of 'Ginger' which dates to about 3300 BC

The British Museum, Room 4 - Egyptian Sculpture

Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities

The Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities of the British Museum has one of the world's largest and most comprehensive collections of antiquities from the Classical world, with over 100,000 objects. These mostly range in date from the beginning of the Greek Bronze Age (about 3200BC) to the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century AD, with some pagan survivals.

The Cycladicmarker, Minoan and Mycenaean cultures are represented, and the Greek collection includes important sculpture from the Parthenonmarker in Athensmarker, as well as elements of two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halikarnassosmarker and the Temple of Artemismarker at Ephesosmarker.

The Department also houses one of the widest-ranging collections of Italic and Etruscanmarker antiquities and extensive groups of material from Cyprus. The collections of ancient jewellery and bronzes, Greek vases and Roman glass and silver are particularly important.

Key highlights of the collections include:

;Athenian Akropolismarker
The Parthenon Gallery
*The Parthenon Marbles are one of the finest manifestations of human creation. The Magnificent Relief Frieze showing the Panathenaic procession, from Ancient Greece, often praised as the finest achievement of Greek Architecture, its decorative sculptures are considered one of the high points of Greek art.

*One of six remaining Caryatids
*Surviving Column

Athena Nike
*Surviving Frieze Slabs

;Bassaemarker Sculptures
*Twenty three surviving blocks of the frieze from the interior of the temple are exhibited on an upper level.

;Mausoleum of Halikarnassosmarker
One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
*Two colossal free-standing figures identified as Maussollos and his wife Artemisia.
*Part of an impressive horse from the chariot group adorning the summit of the Mausoleum
*The Amazonomachy frieze - A long section of relief frieze showing the battle between Greeks and Amazons

;Temple of Artemis at Ephesos
One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

;Asia Minormarker
Nereid Monumentmarker
*Partial reconstruction of the Monument, a large and elaborate Lykian tomb from the site of Xanthosmarker in south-west Turkeymarker
*Payava Tomb from Xanthos in south west Turkey

;Wider Museum Collection
*Material from the Palace of Knossosmarker
*Portland Vase
*The Warren Cup
*Towneley Sculptures

Department of the Middle East

The British Museum, Room 6 - Assyrian Sculpture

Formerly the Department of the Ancient Near East, the Department recently became the Department of the Middle East when the collections from the Islamic world were moved from the Department of Asia into this department.

With approximately 330,000 objects in the collection, the British Museum has the greatest collection of Mesopotamian antiquities outside Iraqmarker. The holdings of Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian antiquities are among the most comprehensive in the world.

The collections represent the civilisations of the ancient Near East and its adjacent areas. These include Mesopotamia, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, Anatoliamarker, the Caucasus, parts of Central Asia, Syriamarker, Palestine and Phoenicianmarker settlements in the western Mediterraneanmarker from the prehistoric period until the beginning of Islam in the 7th century. The collection includes six iconic winged human-headed statues from Nimrudmarker and Khorsabadmarker. Stone bas-reliefs, including the famous Royal Lion Hunt relief's (Room 10), that were found in the palaces of the Assyrian kings at Nimrudmarker and Ninevehmarker. The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh and Sumerian treasures found in Royal Cemetery's at Ur of the Chaldees.

The earliest Mesopotamian objects to enter collections purchased by the British Museum in 1772 from Sir William Hamilton. The Museum also acquired at this early date a number of sculptures from Persepolismarker. The next significant addition (in 1825) was from the collection of Claudius James Rich. The collection was dramatically enlarged by the excavations of A. H. Layard at the Assyrian sites of Nimrudmarker and Ninevehmarker between 1845–1851.

At Nimrud, Layard discovered the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, as well as three other palaces and various temples. He also opened in the Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh with 'no less than seventy-one halls'. As a result a large numbers of Lamassu's, bas-reliefs, stelae, including the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III were brought to the British Museum. Layard's work was continued by his assistant, Hormuzd Rassam and in 1852–1854 he went on to discover the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh with many magnificent reliefs, including the famous Royal Lion Hunt scenes. He also discovered the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, a large collection of cuneiform tablets of enormous importance. W. K. Loftus excavated in Nimrud between 1850–1855 and found a remarkable hoard of ivories in the Burnt Palace. Between 1878–1882 Rassam greatly improved the Museum's holdings with exquisite objects including the Cyrus Cylinder from Babylonmarker, the bronze gates from Balawatmarker, and a fine collection of Urartian bronzes. Rassam collected thousands of cuneiform tablets, today with the acquisition of further tablets in the 20th century, the collection now numbers around 130,000 pieces. In the 20th century excavations were carried out at Carchemishmarker, Syriamarker, between 1911–1914 and in 1920 by D. G. Hogarth and Leonard Woolley, the latter assisted by T. E. Lawrence. The Mesopotamian collections were greatly augmented by excavations in southern Iraqmarker after the First World War. From Tell al-Ubaidmarker in 1919 and 1923–1924, directed by H. R. Hall came the bronze furnishings of a Sumerian temple, including life-sized lions and a panel featuring the lion-headed eagle Indugud. Woolley went onto to excavate Urmarker between 1922–1934, discovering the 'Royal Cemeteries' of the 3rd millennium BC. Some of the masterpieces include the 'Standard of Ur', the 'Ram in a Thicket', the 'Royal Game of Ur', and two bull-headed lyres.

Although the collections centre on Mesopotamia most of the surrounding areas are well-represented. The Achaemenid collection was enhanced with the addition of the Oxus Treasure in 1897, by acquisition from the German scholar Ernst Herzfeld, and then by the work of Sir Aurel Stein. From Palmyramarker there is a large collection of nearly forty funerary busts, acquired in the 19th century. A group of stone reliefs from the excavations of Max von Oppenheim at Tell Halafmarker, purchased in 1920. More excavated material from the excavations of Max Mallowan at Chagar Bazarmarker and Tell Brak in 1935–1938, and from Woolley at Alalakhmarker in the years just before and after the Second World War. The collection of Palestinian material was strengthened with the acquisition in 1980 of around 17,000 objects found at Lachishmarker by the Wellcome-Marston expedition of 1932–1938.

A representative selection, including the most important pieces, are on display in 13 galleries and total some 4500 objects. The remainder form the study collection which ranges in size from beads to large sculptures. They include approximately 130,000 cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia.

The museum's collection of Islamic art, including archaeological material, numbers about 40,000 objects, one of the largest of its kind in the world. As such, it contains a broad range of Islamic pottery, paintings, tiles, metalwork, glass, seals, and inscriptions.

Key Highlights of the Collections include:


Alabaster bas-reliefs from:



Alabaster bas-reliefs from:
  • North-Palace of Ashurbanipal
  • Royal Lion Hunt Scenes
  • The 'Dying Lion', long been acclaimed as a masterpiece
  • The 'Garden Party' Relief
  • South-West Palace of Sennacherib

Royal Library of Ashurbanipal:

  • Alabaster bas-reliefs from the Palace of Sargon II
  • Pair of Human Headed Winged 'Lamassu' Bulls

Wider Collection:

Department of Prints and Drawings

The Department of Prints and Drawings holds the national collection of Western Prints and Drawings. It ranks as one of the largest collections in existence alongside the Musée du Louvremarker and the Hermitagemarker as one of the top three collections of its kind.

Since its foundation in 1808 the Prints and Drawings collection has grown to international renown as one of the richest and most representative collections in the world. There are approximately 50,000 drawings and over two million prints. The collection of Drawings covers the period 14th century to the present, and includes many works of the highest quality by the leading artists of the European school. The collection of Prints covers the tradition of fine printmaking from its beginnings in the 15th century up to the present, with near complete holdings of most of the great names before the 19th century.

There are magnificent groups of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, (including his only surviving full-scale cartoon), Dürer (a collection of 138 drawings is one of the finest in existence), Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Claude and Watteau, and virtually complete collections of the works of all the great printmakers including unsurpassed holdings of prints by Dürer (99 engravings, 6 etchings and a substantial number of his 346 woodcuts), Rembrandt and Goya. More than 30,000 British drawings and watercolours include important examples work by Hogarth, Sandby, Turner, Girtin, Constable, Cotman, Cox, Gillray, Rowlandson and Cruikshank, as well as all the great Victorians. There are about a million British prints including more than 20,000 satires and outstanding collections of works by William Blake and Thomas Bewick.

Department of Asia

Amravati Gallery

The scope of the Department of Asia is extremely broad, its collections of over 75,000 objects covers the material culture of the whole Asian continent (from East, South, Central and South-East Asia) and from the Neolithic up to the present day.

Key highlights of the collections include:

  • The most comprehensive collection of sculpture from the Indian subcontinent in the world, including the celebrated Buddhist limestone reliefs from Amaravati
  • An outstanding collection of Chinese antiquities, paintings, and porcelain, lacquer, bronze, jade, and other applied arts
  • A fine collection of Buddhist paintings from Dunhuangmarker and the Admonitions Scroll by Chinese artist Gu Kaizhi (344–406 AD)
  • The most comprehensive collection of Japanese pre-20th century art in the Western world

Image:Ku K'ai-chih 001.jpg|Painting by Chinese artist Gu Kaizhi, c. 380 AD.Image:Ku K'ai-chih 002.jpg|Painting by Chinese artist Gu Kaizhi, c. 380 AD.Image:Indischer Maler um 1615 (I) 001.jpg|Portrait of Ibrâhîm 'Âdil Shâh II (1580–1626), Mughal Empire of India, 1615 AD.Image:CrystalGoose.JPG|A Hamsa sacred swan vessel made of crystal, from Gandhara, 1st century AD.

Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas

The British Museum houses one of the world's greatest and most comprehensive collections of Ethnographic material from Africa, Oceania and the Americas, representing the cultures of indigenous peoples throughout the world. Over 350,000 objects spanning two million years tells the story of the history of man, from three major continents and many rich and diverse cultures.

The Sainsbury African Galleries display 600 objects from the greatest permanent collection of African arts and culture in the world. The three permanent galleries provide a substantial exhibition space for the Museum's African collection comprising over 200,000 objects. A curatorial scope that encompasses both archaeological and contemporary material, including both unique masterpieces of artistry and objects of everyday life.

Highlights of the African collection include a magnificent brass head of a Yoruba ruler from Ife, Nigeria; Asante goldwork from Ghana and the Torday collection of Central African sculpture, textiles and weaponry.

The Americas collection mainly consists of 19th and 20th century items although the Inca, Aztec, Maya and other early cultures are well represented; collecting of modern artefacts is ongoing.

Department of Coins and Medals

The British Museum is home to one of the world's finest numismatic collections, comprising about a million objects. The collection spans the entire history of coinage from its origins in the 7th century BC to the present day. There are approximately 9,000 coins, medals and banknotes on display around the British Museum. More than half of these can be found in the HSBC Money Gallery (Gallery 68), while the remainder form part of the permanent displays throughout the Museum.

Department of Prehistory and Europe

The prehistoric collections cover Europe, Africa and Asia, the earliest African artefacts being around 2 million years old. Coverage of Europe extends to the present day.

Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science

This department was founded in 1920. Conservation has six specialist areas: ceramics & glass; metals; organic material (including textiles); stone, wall paintings and mosaics; Eastern pictorial art and Western pictorial art. The science department has and continues to develop techniques to date artefacts, analyse and identify the materials used in their manufacture, to identify the place an artefact originated and the techniques used in their creation. The department also publishes its findings and discoveries.

Libraries and Archives

This department covers all levels of education, from casual visitors, schools, degree level and beyond. The Museum's various libraries hold in excess of 350,000 books, journals and pamphlets covering all areas of the museum's collection. Also the general Museum archives which date from its foundation in 1753 are overseen by this department; the individual departments have their own separate archives covering their various areas of responsibility.


It is a point of controversy whether museums should be allowed to possess artefacts taken from other countries, and the British Museum is a notable target for criticism. The Elgin Marbles, Benin Bronzes and Rosetta Stone are among the most disputed objects in its collections, and organisations have been formed demanding the return of these artefacts to their native countries of Greecemarker, Nigeriamarker and Egyptmarker respectively.

The British Museum has refused to return these artefacts, stating 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". The Museum has also argued that the British Museum Act of 1963 legally prevents any object from leaving its collection once it has entered it. Nevertheless, it has returned items such as the Tasmanian Ashes after a 20 year long battle with Australia.

The British Museum continues to assert that it is an appropriate custodian and has an inalienable right to its disputed artefacts under British law.

Disputed Items in the Collection

Floor Directory

Upper floor

Level 5 Level 4 Level 3
Rooms 92-94 Japan Room 90 Prints and Drawings
Room 91 EHXIBTION: The power of dogu: ceramic figures from ancient Japan
10 September - 22 November 2009

Room 35 EXHIBITION: Kingdom of Ife: sculptures from West Africa 4 March – 6 June 2010
Room 38-9 Clocks and Watches
Room 40 Medieval Europe
Room 41 Eurpoe AD 300-1100
Room 45 The Waddesdon Bequest
Room 46 Europe 1400-1800
Room 47 Europe 1800-1900
Room 48 Europe 1900 to the present
Room 49 Roman Britain
Room 50 Britain and Europe 800 BC-AD 43
Room 51 Ancient Europe 4000-800 BC
Room 52 Ancient Iran
Room 53 Ancient South Arabia
Room 54 Ancient Turkey
Room 55 Mesopotamia 1500-539 BC
Room 56 Mesopotamia 6000 - 1500 BC
Room 57-9 Ancient Levant
Room 68 Money
Room 69 Greek and Roman life
Room 69a EXHIBITION: Ruin and rebellion: uncovering the past at Tutbury Castle
9 July 2009 – 21 March 2010
Room 70 Roman Empire
Room 71 Etruscan world
Room 72 Ancient Cyprus
Room 73 Greeks in Italy

Ground floor

Level 2 Level 1 Level 0
Room 67 Korea
Room 95 Chinese Ceramics
Room 33 China, India, South Asia and Southeast Asia
Room 33a Amaravati

Room 1 Enlightment
Room 2 The Changing Museum
Room 3 EXHIBITION: The Asahi Shimbun Displays: Objects in focus
Room 4 Egyptian sculpture
Room 6 Assyrian sculpture and Balawat Gates
Rooms 7-8 Assyria: Nimrud
Room 9 Assyria: Nineveh
Room 10 Assyria: Lion hunts
Room 11 Cycladic Islands
Room 12 Greece: Minoans and Mycenaeans
Room 13 Greece 1050-520 BC
Room 14 Greek vases
Room 15 Athens and Lycia
Room 16 Greece: Bassae Sculptures
Room 17 Nereid Monument
Room 18 Greece: Parthenon
Room 19 Greece: Athens
Room 20 Greeks and Lycians 400-325 BC
Room 21 Mausoleum of Kalikarnassos
Room 22 The world of Alexander
Room 23 Greek and Roman sculpture
Room 24 Living and Dying
Stairs down to 'Room 25 Africa
Room 26' North America
Room 27 Mexico
Room 33b Chinese jade

Lower floor

Level -1 Level -2
Room 25 and Clore Education Centre only
Ford Centre for Young Visitors Clore Education Centre
Room 25 Africa
Room 77 Greek and Roman architecture
Room 78 Classical Inscriptions
Room 82 Early Ephesus
Room 83-4 Roman sculpture
Room 85 Roman portraits

Transport Connections

London Buses British Museum 7
London Underground Holbornmarker
Tottenham Court Roadmarker
Russell Squaremarker


Image:BM, Main Floor Main Entrance Hall ~ South Stairs.6.JPG|Main Staircase, Discobolus of Myron (the Discus-Thrower)

Floor Plans

Museum Galleries
Department of Ancient Egypt and SudanImage:BM, AES Egyptian Sculpture (Room 4), View South + Towards Assyrian Sculpture Gallery (Room 6).JPG|Room 4 - Egyptian Sculpture, view towards the Assyrian TransceptImage:Egyptian Gallery.JPG| Room 4 - Egyptian SculptureImage:England; London - The British Museum, Egypt Egyptian Sculpture (Room 4).4.JPG| Room 4 - Egyptian SculptureImage:BM, AES Egyptian Sculpture (Room 4), View North.3.JPG| Room 4 - Egyptian Sculpture

Department of the Ancient Near EastImage:BM; RM10 - ANE, Khorsabad Palace Reliefs and Assyrian Art ~ Lamassu's.JPG| Room 10 - Khorsabadmarker Palace ReliefsImage:BM; RM7 - ANE, Nineveh Palace Reliefs Southwest Palace of Sennacherib (701-681 B.C.) ~ Full Elevation + Viewing South.4.JPG| Room 9 - Ninevehmarker Palace ReliefsImage:BM;_ANE_-_Nineveh,_The_Royal_Lion_Hunt_(Room_10).JPG| Room 10 - Nineveh, The Royal Lion HuntImage:BM; ANE - RM 89, Assyrian Reliefs ~ Nineveh.JPG| Room 89 - Nimrudmarker & Nineveh Palace Reliefs

Department of Greek and Roman AntiquitiesImage:Elgin Marbles British Museum.jpg| Room 18 - Parthenonmarker FreizeImage:Parthenon Frieze.JPG| Room 18 - Ancient GreeceImage:Townley Sculptures.JPG| Room 84 - Towneley SculpturesImage: BM,GNR; The Acropolis & The late 5th C BC ~ Erechtheum Caryatid + Ionic Column (Room 19).jpg| Room 19 - Athens, Erechtheionmarker Sculptures from the Acropolismarker

Forgotten Empire Exhibition (October 2005 - January 2006)Image:Forgotten Empire Exhibition, (Room 5).1.JPG | Room 5 - Exhibitions PanoramaImage:Persepolis.JPG| Room 5 - The Persepolismarker CastsImage:BM; ANE - Forgotten Empire Exhibition, (Room 5).3.JPG | Room 5 - Exhibitions RelicsImage:BM; ANE - Forgotten Empire Exhibition, The Cyrus Cylinder (Room 5).JPG| Room 5 - The Cyrus Cylinder

See also


a. Sculptures and applied art are in the Victoria and Albert Museummarker, the British Museum houses earlier art, non-Western art, prints and drawings, and art of a later date is at Tate Modernmarker. The National Gallery, holds the National Collection of Western European Art, with Tate Britainmarker deposited with British Art from 1500.

b. By the Act of Parliament it received a name - the British Museum. The origin of the name is not known; the word 'British' had some resonance nationally at this period, so soon after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745; it must be assumed that the Museum was christened in this light.

c. The estimated footage of the various libraries as reported to the Trustees has been summarised by Harris (1998), 3,6: Sloane 4,600, Harley 1,700, Cotton 384, Edwards 576, The Royal Library 1,890.

d. This was perhaps rather unfortunate as the title to the house was complicated by the fact that part of the building had been erected on leasehold property (the Crown lease of which ran out in 1771); perhaps that is why George III paid such a modest price (nominally £28,000) for what was to become Buckingham Palacemarker. See Colvin et al. (1976), 134.

e. Understanding of the foundation of the National Gallerymarker is complicated by the fact that there is no documented history of the institution. At first the National Gallery functioned effectively as part of the British Museum, to which the Trustees transferred most of their most important pictures (ex. portraits). Full control was handed over to the National Gallery in 1868, after the Act of Parliament of 1856 established the Gallery as an independent body.

f. Ashmole, the Keeper of the Greek and Roman Antiquities appreciated the original top-lighting of these galleries and removed the Victorian colour scheme, commenting:
The old Elgin Gallery was painted a deep terracotta red, which, though in some ways satisfactory, diminished its apparent size, and was apt to produce a depressing effect on the visitor.
It was decided to experiment with lighter colours, and the walls of the large room were painted with what was, at its first application, a pure cold white, but which after a year's exposure had unfortunately yellowed.
The small Elgin Room was painted with pure white tinted with prussian blue, and the Room of the metopes was painted with pure white tinted with cobalt blue and black; it was necessary, for practical reasons, to colour all the dadoes a darker colour

g. Ashmole had never liked the Duveen Gallery:
It is, I suppose, not positively bad, but it could have been infinitely better.
It is pretentious, in that it uses the ancient Marbles to decorate itself.
This is a long outmoded idea, and the exact opposite of what a sculpture gallery should do.
And, although it incorporates them, it is out of scale, and tends to dwarf them with its bogus Doric features, including those columns, supporting almost nothing which would have made an ancient Greek artist architect whince.
The source of daylight is too high above the sculptures, a fault that is only concealed by the amount of reflection from the pinkish marble walls.
These are too similar in colour to the marbles...These half-dozen elementary errors were pointed out by everyone in the Museum, and by many scholars outside, when the building was projected.

It was not until the 1980s that the installation, of a lighting scheme removed his greatest criticism of the building.

h. The Cairo Museum has 150,000 artefacts, with leading collections reposited at the Musee du Louvre (60,000), Petrie Museum (80,000), The Metropolitan Museum of art (36,000), University of Pennsylvania (42,000), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (40,000), Museo Egizio, Turin (32,500 objects).


  1. - British Museum website
  2. British Museum - Admission and opening times
  3. BBC News | ARTS | National man for British Museum
  4. Creating a Great Museum: Early Collectors and The British Museum
  5. British Museum - General history
  6. Gavin R de Beer, Sir Hans Sloane and the British Museum (London, 1953).
  7. Letter to Charles Long (1823), BMCE115/3,10. Scrapbooks and illustrations of the Museum. {Wilson, David, M. (2002). The British Museum: A History. London: The British Museum Press, pg 346)
  8. The British Museum Images
  9. Wilson, David, M. (2002). The British Museum: A History. London: The British Museum Press, pg 25
  10. The British Museum Opened, History Today
  11. BMCE1/5, 1175 (13 May 1820). Minutes of General Meeting of the Trustees, 1754-63. {Wilson, David, M. (2002). The British Museum: A History, pg 78)
  12. Wondrous Curiosities - Ancient Egypt at the British Museum, pg 66-72 (Stephanie Moser, 2006, ISBN 0226542092
  13. The Story of the British Museum, pg 24 (Marjorie Caygill, 2003, ISBN 0714127728)
  14. The British Museum - The Elgin Marbles, pg 85 (B.F.Cook, 2005, ISBN 0714121347
  15. The British Museum - Assyrian Sculpture, pg 6-7 (Julian Reade, 2004, ISBN 071412141X)
  16. King's Library
  17. Wilson, David, M. (2002). The British Museum: A History. London: The British Museum Press, pg 79
  18. The Story of the British Museum, pg 25 (Marjorie Caygill, 2003, ISBN 0714127728)
  19. Reade, Julian (2004). Assyrian Sculpture. London: The British Museum Press, pg 16
  20. South from Ephesus - An Escape From The Tyranny Of Western Art, pg 33-34,(Brian Sewell, 2002, ISBN 1903933161)
  21. Caygill, Marjorie (2006). The British Museum: 250 Years. London: The British Museum Press, pg 5
  22. Permanent establishment of the Research Laboratory (now the oldest such establishment in continuous existence)
  23. Cook, B.F. (2005). The Elgin Marbles. London: The British Museum Press, pg 92
  24. Wilson, David, M. (2002). The British Museum: A History. London: The British Museum Press, pg 270
  25. Wilson, David, M. (2002). The British Museum: A History. London: The British Museum Press, pg 327
  28. British Museum - Directors
  29. British Museum - Museum governance
  30. Building the British Museum, Marjorie Caygill & Christopher Date 1999
  31. Building London
  32. Title deed of the 'perimeter properties' of The British Museum, BM Archives CA TD
  33. pages 65-66, Building the British Museum, Marjorie Caygill & Christopher Date 1999
  34. Norman Foster and the British Museum, Norman Foster, Deyan Sudjic & Spencer de Grey 2001
  36. British Museum - World cultures
  37. Reported in the list of Sloane's collection given to his executors in 1753. Reproduced in MacGregor (1994a:29)
  38. A British Museum Egyptologist's View: The Return of Egyptian Antiquities is Not an Issue
  39. British Museum - Ancient Egypt and Sudan
  40. Amarna cuneiform tablets
  41. Tony Kitto, "The celebrated connoisseur: Charles Townley, 1737-1805" Minerva Magazine May/June 2005, in connection with a British Museum exhibition clebrating the bicentennial of the Townley purchase. [1]
  42. British Museum - Department of Middle East - Research
  43. British Museum - History of the Collection: Middle East
  44. MWNF - Museum With No Frontiers
  45. British Museum - Prints and Drawings
  47. Collection page
  48. Embassy of Japan in the UK
  49. British Museum - Department of Asia
  50. British Museum - Department of Asia - Related Highlight Objects
  51. British Museum - Room 33a: Amaravati
  52. British Museum - Africa, Oceania and the Americas
  53. British Museum - Greek and Roman Antiquities
  54. Arts - British Museum returns aboriginal ashes to Tasmania
  55. The Parthenon Marbles (or Elgin Marbles) Restoration to Athens, Greece - Articles and Research
  56. British Museum sold precious bronzes | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited
  57. Brits negotiate future of sacred tablets
  58. Channel 4 - News - Getting the Nazi stolen art back
  59. Tajik president calls for return of treasure from British Museum | Art & Architecture | Guardian Unlimited Arts
  60. BBC News | WALES | Hopes for priceless relic's return
  61. BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Egypt calls for return of Rosetta Stone
  62. The power of dogu: ceramic figures from ancient Japan
  63. Kingdom of Ife: sculptures from West Africa
  64. Ruin and rebellion: uncovering the past at Tutbury Castle
  65. The question of the use of the term 'British' at this period has recently received some attention, e.g. Colley (1992), 85ff. There never has been a serious attempt to change the Museum's name.
  66. Quoted Ashmole (1994), 125
  67. Ashmole (1994), 126

Further reading

  • Anderson, Robert (2005). The Great Court and The British Museum. London: The British Museum Press
  • Caygill, Marjorie (2006). The British Museum: 250 Years. London: The British Museum Press
  • Caygill, Marjorie (2002). The Story of the British Museum. London: The British Museum Press
  • Cook, B.F. (2005). The Elgin Marbles. London: The British Museum Press
  • Jenkins, Ian (2006). Greek Architecture and its Sculpture in The British Museum. London: The British Museum Press
  • Moser, Stephanie (2006). Wondrous Curiosities: Ancient Egypt at The British Museum. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
  • Reade, Julian (2004). Assyrian Sculpture. London: The British Museum Press
  • Reeve, John (2003). The British Museum: Visitor's Guide. London: The British Museum Press
  • Wilson, David, M. (2002). The British Museum: A History. London: The British Museum Press

External links

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