Visit of the British Museum is to travel through time and space, explore history from its details, pilgrimage to knowledge and the roots of culture. It is, in short, to experience and discover the origins of humanity.
More than seven million pieces and objects from all corners of the world and from all periods, five floors, more than ninety rooms, a historic reading room and countless conferences and activities for all audiences make up this great cultural complex located in the heart of London.
For this and much more, the British Museum is an essential visit. In this post we give you all the necessary information to make the most of your visit to the British Museum.
The British Museum schedule is every day from 10am to 5.30pm, except on Fridays, which close at 8.30pm.
At Christmas (December 24 and 25) and New Year, the museum remains closed.
The price to enter the British Museum is free.
As we have already told you, in the British Museum you will find a great variety of articles and objects from all over the world that go back many years.
The British Museum has a total of five levels of floors in which the places from which the objects come are distributed.
On the bottom floor of the British Museum we find levels -2 and -1. Also The Clore Center for Education and theFord Center for Young Visitors.
In -2 There is room 25, called The Sainsbury Gallery and it is dedicated to Africa. In the -1 there are rooms 77 and 78 dedicated to Ancient Greece and Rome.
What you can not miss here is the Ivory pendant mask, a masterpiece of African art.
On the ground floor of the British Museum are the levels -1, 0, 1 and 2. In the -1 we find the Anthropology Library and Research Center and two rooms. One of them, dedicated to Asia, has changing content; the other one to the Middle East with an exhibition of the Islamic world in the John Addis Gallery.
In the level 0 is where practically all the rooms of the ground floor are. There are two rooms dedicated to the American continent, one to Ancient Egypt, fifteen to Ancient Greece and Romeand four to the Middle East. There are four other rooms dedicated to different themes.
Level 1 is only stairs to reach level 2, where there are two rooms: one dedicated to Korea and the other to Chinese ceramics.
Among all these levels we find 6 highlights that you can not miss:
Here are levels 3, 4 and 5 of the British Museum. In the 3 is where most of the rooms are concentrated.
In level 3 we find six rooms dedicated to Ancient Egypt, five rooms dedicated to Ancient Greece and Rome, eight rooms dedicated to Europe and six rooms dedicated to the Middle East. There is also a room dedicated to watches and another to money.
On level 4 there is a thematic room dedicated to prints and drawings and a room dedicated to painting and Asian calligraphy.
Finally, at level 5 we find three rooms dedicated to Japan.
The 5 highlights of these levels are:
In the British Museum you will also find special temporary exhibitions. They are designed to advance the understanding of world cultures through a new vision of objects in the permanent collection along with important international loans.
The British Museum collections that change their objects are part of the museum in general, that is, you do not have to pay for them. They are in rooms 3, 69a, 90, 90a and 91.
Unlike other great museums of antiquities, the British Museum does not present important collections of pictorial works nor unique natural specimens.
But even so, the British Museum is one of the largest museums in the world. Therefore, visiting it can be a challenge.
Preparing the visit in advance allows you to play with advantage. Know what rooms or works you want to see, know the location of these through the plans, be informed in advance through the web about the activities or free daily conferences, calculate the hours of visit to take advantage until the last minute or control the routes proposed by the museum itself are some suggestions.
We advise you to visit the calendar with the events of the British Museum to be better prepared.You can also check Friday lates, which open until later.
At the British Museum you can enjoy guided tours, talks and multimedia guides.
It is important to highlight the work that the British Museum has been doing for some years in terms of app's.
Some of the galleries or rooms of the British Museum, such as the Wadsddon room today, have their own downloadable applications that offer interactive information with games and activities, for all audiences, to make the visit more entertaining.
As for the children's visits, there are several family routes and work tables where the youngest can manipulate copies of the objects of the collections.
If you only have one hour, from the British Museum recommend to visit only the most important objects, the highlights of each plant. Start the tour in room 2a with The Holy Thorn Reliquary.
In case of having more time to see the British Museum, visit one or more of the temporary exhibitions or take the opportunity to take one of the tours or guides of the museum, or attend a talk.
There are shops scattered throughout the museum where you can find maps, books, gifts, jewelry, replicas and objects for children.
The origins of the British Museum date back to the 18th century and to the private collection of the physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane.
The group had more than 71,000 pieces of great historical, natural, cultural and ethnographic value that Sloane had treasured during his travels. Upon his death in 1753, he bequeathed his entire collection to the British State, which decided to turn it into a museum.
Six years later, the British Museum opened its doors to the public from its current location in the London suburb of Bloomsbury, remaining always active except during the two world wars.
A century later, the naturalist collection became independent in its own museum, the Natural History Museum in London and, years later, so did the manuscript and literary volumes, becoming the current British Library.
The catalog of the British Museum has been growing year after year since its inauguration, but its space has been limited. For this reason, a large part of the collection is preserved in the underground rooms of the museum, being exhibited in temporary exhibitions.
The current building is structured around the Great Atrium of Isabel II, an initial exterior patio that ended up becoming the largest covered square in Europe. Through this, you can access the ninety-five rooms distributed by the different levels and the old reading room, of great beauty and historical importance.
The organization of the museum is carried out through the geographical origin of the pieces and their chronology.
From the central square, the galleries on the east side are dedicated to temporary exhibitions, while the rooms on the west side house Egyptian sculptures, Assyrian reliefs and much of the Greek collection. In addition, the rooms north of the square are dedicated to the American continent.
The next two plants and the last two contain the Asian pieces with examples from China, Japan or Korea.
Finally, the third floor retains in the west gallery, objects of classical cultures, that is, of Greece and Rome among others; in the north gallery, the Egyptian mummies; in the east gallery, the Middle East and, finally, in the halls of the south, the exhibition of Europe and the treasures of the United Kingdom.
There is a historical controversy in the British Museum and other great antique museums, about the initial acquisition of the pieces and their property.
Many of the countries represented in their rooms claim back these objects and works that, they claim, were stolen and are the result of looting carried out by Europeans during the colonial era.
It is true that sometimes, the discovery was casual and its transport to European capitals served as a reward for the trips and expeditions of the scientific societies of the moment.
These large museums defend and respond stating that the countries of origin can not and could not carry out an adequate preservation of the pieces, in addition to confirming the legal purchases of these in previous centuries.
The British Museum, despite being the most important attraction in the Bloomsbury neighborhood, is not the only one. This neighborhood, characterized by small squares and terraced houses, hides some jewel.