Abdul Muqeet Waheed
With its unique collections containing about eight million artworks and objects, the British Museum in London is one of England’s most significant, oldest, and most extensive museums. This museum brings you back to 1753 the dawn of civilization with its exhibits and holdings. With artifacts from all across the world, the British Museum is devoted to keeping and presenting the progress and culture of humanity.
London is one of my favorite locations I’ve visited so far, and it has several excellent museums. I’m not a museum type but I had read so much about it and seen it in so many movies that it seemed familiar to me. Books and films have imprinted the British museum firmly into my mind. It now serves as an expansion of the city.
My Obsession with Movies:
I’ve probably said previously how much I like The Mummy series (the original with Brandon Fraser). The people in the movie drive up to the museum in the middle of the night while their torches are burning in the pitch-black.
That alone is hardly a compelling cause to travel, but the fact that it is where the famous Egyptian artifacts are kept is. Having the link to one of my favorite movies is just one more motive to go.
However, as we reached the spot, I became aware of a problem. The museum’s facade looked different from the one in the film. I was bothered by that for some reason. In doing some research, I discovered that the movie was actually filmed outside of the University College London and not the British Museum. The buildings are similar enough in appearance that most people would not be able to tell them apart, even though the museum itself was under construction at the time. However, I was correct! What do you call a movie compulsion?
Some History of the Museum:
The British Museum is a treasure of one Sir Hans Sloane, who, at the ripe old age of 92, gave his collection of more than 70,000 artifacts to the British people. Sloane was born in Ireland and was a physician, naturalist, and voracious collector.
His large collection formed the basis for the creation of the British Museum, the British Library, and the Natural History Museum. How awesome is that? He traveled as a well-known doctor and was able to collect items from far-off locations. I’m so grateful that he and other individuals like him existed so that we may appreciate what they left behind.
The British Museum, which opened in 1759, was the first national public museum in the world that offer free entrance to the public. With more than 6 million people visiting each year to see the exhibitions, it is still a well-liked site. If I lived in London, I imagine I would go to it frequently.
The Popularity of the Museum:
The 19th century saw a number of noteworthy new acquisitions and expansions. The gift of the King’s Library by George IV expanded the collection in addition to the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon artifacts, and classical sculptures. Things became congested when Assyrian excavations, British, and medieval artifacts, as well as eastern art and artifacts, were added.
As the number of objects increased, the museum needed to be expanded and rebuilt. The Reading Room is a part of the current structure, which was designed in 1857.
The museum underwent extensive extensions as well as tours and seminars in the 20th and 21st centuries. The majestic Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, which was once intended to be a garden, is one example of this. The original patio was lost as it was gradually stacked with books. The public was once more able to visit the museum after this renovation.
The Rosetta Stone:
The Rosetta Stone is the most well-known archeological find when it comes to finding important ancient artifacts. What a cool thing! How anyone could refuse to want to witness it in person is beyond me. Of course, seeing it in person left me speechless.
The Rosetta Stone is a massive slab, or stele, that was etched in three different scripts that were in use in Egypt at the time it was created in 196 BC. Ancient Greek, Demotic script, and Hieroglyphics are the languages written on the stone. The engravings are a priestly edict establishing Ptolemy V’s royal cult as Egypt’s king.
As you can see, all awareness of Egyptian hieroglyphics has vanished through time. Experts were able to decode the remainder of the text by using the Ancient Greek inscription from the Rosetta Stone as a key. The translation of the graphic writing system was also made feasible by this discovery.
The Rosetta, where Napoleon’s forces found the stone in 1799, is whence the stone derives its name. The British Museum has stored it there since 1802, where it traveled after that.
The Parthenon Sculptures:
The different statues and artifacts from the Greek Parthenon may also be found at the British Museum. Although their journey to London has generated some controversy, it is worthwhile to stop and visit them during your visit.
In the early 1800s, a certain Lord Elgin, the envoy to the Ottoman sultan Selim III, made the decision to ship back to England a vast array of Parthenon artifacts. So’s still debatable whether he had the legal authority to do it depending on how the sultan’s approval was interpreted. Greeks want the sculptures and frosts restored to their original sites, but the British Museum believes it is entitled to possession of them.
The Parthenon was a magnificent architectural wonder with stunning artwork exhibits that had an impact on the civilizations that followed. While we were in Athens, I thought it was extremely amazing. However, I really cherished being able to go up close to the sculptures and frozen at the British Museum. After all, their beauty deserves awe and investigation. No matter how you feel about where they are, meeting them in person is a great moment.
The Egyptian Mummies:
The one civilization I didn’t have the opportunity to really explore out of all the ones I’ve learned about in school was ancient Egypt. It has captivated me my entire life. I grab the chance whenever there is an Egyptian display. While the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto has a sizable collection of Egyptian artifacts, the British Museum’s sizable collection is absolutely amazing.
There are about 300 animal mummies in addition to over 120 human mummies, 80 of which come straight from Egypt. All of the mummies at the museum are still wrapped in their original materials, despite the horrifying mummy unwrapping parties that were formerly so common in England. Since the 1790s, absolutely nothing has been revealed, and for good reason.
Although Hans Sloan’s collection of mummies was false when it was given, the museum later bought real ones. Because of its popularity, the collection was included in the Night at the Museum feature film. Another link between Hollywood and the British Museum.
Conclusions On Seeing The British Museum
I don’t think it would be possible to visit all of the exhibits in a single day because there are so many of them here. Because of their vastness and the sheer number of displays, museums may be very overwhelming. The British Museum may be easily divided into many separate journeys if you have the time. Because it’s free to enter.
A dream came true for me when I visited this museum. By doing so, I was able to satisfy my history nerd side by seeing some of the important historical artifacts. Do I want to return? Very quickly indeed!
Tips for Visiting the British Museum
- Try to arrive as early as you can; the museum can get very crowded in the afternoon.
- For £60 (or £42 if you’re under 26), you can become a member of the British Museum and receive unlimited free access to exhibitions as well as special events.
- The ideal vantage point for taking pictures of the majestic staircase is on the second floor of the European part.
Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom.
1. By Tube
The nearest stations are Tottenham Court Road (a six-minute walk away) and Holborn (a seven-minute walk away).
2. By Train
The nearest station is Euston which is a 16-minute walk away.
3. By Bus
You can reach the British Museum via routes 1, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 98, 242, 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134, 390, 59, 68, X68, 91, 168, and 188.
While visiting, you can store cabin-sized bags and purses in the British Museum’s cloakroom. The size and weight of luggage that can be kept are strictly regulated. No suitcases with wheels, whatever size, are permitted inside.
The British Museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm and the entrance is free (but closes at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays).
The Hands-On Desks provide object-handling sessions from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. if you’re interested in handling or touching some of the museum’s artifacts.