Located in London, England, the British Museum is a large scale museum dedicated to human history and culture. It houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in the world. Numbering more than 8 million works, their permanent collections include pieces from all continents, documenting the story of human culture from its earliest beginning up until the present day.
Established in 1753, the British Museum was at the time largely based on the collections of scientist and scholar Sir Hans Sloane. Since the site opened in 1759 on the site of the current museum building, in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, the museum has overseen many renovations and expansions over 250 years. Many of the expansions were largely due to the expansion of British Colonial Movement, which resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, including the British Museum of Natural History, located in Kensington in 1881. Some of the particular objects have been subject to controversy, with many countries calling for restitution for their lost items.
The British Library moved to a new site in 1997, from its previous location in the Round Reading Room. Previously, the British Museum housed the national library and the national museum in the same building. Like all other national museums in the United Kingdom, there museums are sponsored by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and it charges no admission fees, except for its loan exhibitions.
Currently, the British Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Egyptian Antiquities outside of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. With over 100,000 pieces, this collection is immense in its range and quality, offering many great pieces from the various locations and periods of Ancient Egypt. These pieces cover all the cultures of the Nile Valley, from the Predynastic Neolithic period all the way to the Christian times, which is a time-span of more than 11,000 years.
The Egyptian collection by 1924 consisted of nearly 57,000 pieces. Through the Museums support of excavations in Egypt, they continued to bring in many useful acquisitions throughout the 20th century until Egypt started enforcing new antiquities laws that led to the suspension of exporting antiquities. Today, the collection of Egyptian antiquities now number more than 110,000 objects.
In 2001, the museum was able to add to its collection of 8 million objects in its permanent collection with 6 million additions from the Wendorf Collection of Egyptian and Sudanese Prehistory. Professor Fred Wendorf of Southern Methodist University in Texas donated his entire collection of remains and artifacts from his excavations between 1963 and 1997.
Key Elements of the Egyptian Collection include:
Colossal red granite statue of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)
Colossal head from a statue of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)
Colossal limestone bust of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)
The Rosetta Stone (196 BC)
Colossal bust of Ramesses II, the “Younger Memnon” (1250 BC)
Limestone false door of Ptahshepses (2380 BC)
Mummy of Cleopatra from Thebes (100 AD)
Amarna tablets (1350 BC)
The Meriotic Hamadab Stela from the Kingdom of Kush
Limestone statue of a husband and wife (1300 BC)
The Battlefield Palette, (circa ~3500 to 3000 BC)
List of the kings of Egypt from the Temple of Ramesses II (1250 BC)
Granite statue of Senwosret III (1850 BC)
Obelisk of Pharaoh Nectanebo II (360–343 BC)