London is one the most-toured cities in Europe, and the strength of its destinations extensively relies on heritage and arts. Going to London means visiting museums and appreciating what’s housed there—may the theme is of culture, history, timeless art or contemporary design. British Museum, dedicated to human history and culture, dominates the line-up of London’s museums. To date, the prestigious museum plays a sanctuary to almost 8 million collections, probably the largest of all collections in the world.
British Museum started out as a universal museum with an initial collection from physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane. At that time, the collection reached as high as 70,000 pieces including some 40,000 books, 7,000 manuscripts, and an extensive collection of natural history specimens. The establishment of British Museum is something new in the history of the country: it was national, it did not belong to royalty or church and it was open to the public.
For the last seven years, British Museum is one of London’s most famous attractions. The massive building is divided into several departments. The Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan has the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. Sir Hans Sloane had an initial collection of Egyptian antiquities of just 160 pieces, and now in modern times, it has grown to almost 100,000 objects. The key highlights of Egyptian collection includes The Rosetta Stone, The Battlefield Palette, Colossal red granite statue of Amenhotep III and Mummy of Ginger, to name a few.
Over 100,000 pieces from the Classical World are housed in the British Museum’s Department of Greece and Rome. The collection comprises of objects gathered from as far the Greek Bronze Age up to the era of Roman Emperor Constantine I. The highlights of this department include the famous sculpture from the Parthenon in Athens and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos, which are considered two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Important collection of ancient jewelry, Roman glass, Greek vases, bronze and silver are also displayed in the Department of Greece and Rome.
The archeology and art of Europe from the ancient times up to the present, the national collection of horology, and important treasures such as Esquiline Treasure, Carthage Treasure, First Cyprus Treasure, Mildenhall Treasure, Vale of York Hoard, Lampsacus Treasure, Water Newton Treasure and Hoxne Hoard are among the pride of the Department of Prehistory and Europe. Completing the division of British Museum are Department of Middle East, Department of Asia, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, Department of Prints and Drawings, Department of Coins and Medals, Department of Research and Conservation, Libraries and Archives.