British Museum

The eighteenth century: origins of the British Museum The origins of the British Museum lie in the will of the physician, naturalist and collector, Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753). Over his lifetime, Sloane collected more than 71,000 objects which he wanted to be preserved intact after his death. So he bequeathed the whole collection to King George II for the nation in return for a payment of £20,000 to his heirs. The gift was accepted and on 7 June 1753, an Act of Parliament established the British Museum. The founding collections largely consisted of books, manuscripts and natural specimens with some antiquities (including coins and medals, prints and drawings) and ethnographic material. In 1757 King George II donated the 'Old Royal Library' of the sovereigns of England and with it the privilege of copyright receipt.

What's on at British Museum

Culture

We object: questions, thoughts and voices

What makes you pause for thought? Come to the Museum for three days of questioning, thinking and obj...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 23, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

Parthenon: first monument to civilisation?

A gallery talk by David Stuttard, independent speaker. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 23, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Art and politics in the Shogunal court

A gallery talk by Timon Screech, SOAS. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by Museum staff...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 24, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

The Nile and the Niger: a comparison of Africa's greatest rivers and their surrounding cultures

In this lecture Andrew Jaggs, University College London, investigates schools of thought relating to...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 25, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
Culture

1001 Gods and goddesses

A gallery talk by Carol Andrews, independent speaker. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given ...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 26, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Members' early morning viewing of the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world

This beautiful new gallery explores the cultural significance, breadth and impact of the Islamic wor...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 27, 2018, 9 a.m.
Culture

Exploring China

Be inspired by the Museum's objects from China. Find your zodiac character, make your own digital va...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 27, 2018, 10 a.m.
Culture

The Big Draw 2018

A day of drawing activities across the Museum for visitors of all ages inspired by the themes of sat...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 27, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

What is Japanese about Japanese art?

A gallery talk by John Reeve, independent speaker. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by ...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 27, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Colour the collection

Sculptures in the Museum didn't always look the way we see them today – many were painted in bright ...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 28, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

Japan from prehistory to the present

A gallery talk by Tim Clark, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by Museum...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 30, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Treasures of Mughal India: jade and jewels

A gallery talk by Diana Driscoll, independent speaker. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given...

  • British Museum
  • Oct. 31, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Defacing power: mockery and subversion in the Middle East and North Africa

Mocking the powerful has a long pedigree in the Middle East and North Africa. The advent of mass ima...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 1, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
Culture

20th-century Korea

A gallery talk by Eleanor S. Hyun, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 2, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Samsung Great Court games

Come to the Great Court with your family to play digital games, solve challenges and explore trails ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 3, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

Enduring craft traditions in Japan

A gallery talk by Nicole Rousmaniere, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 3, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Stone Age animation

Animate animals that were carved thousands of years ago by prehistoric people. Use stop-motion softw...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 4, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

Little feet: Object Journeys

Who is in your family and what makes them special? Join this Little feet session exploring families ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 5, 2018, 10:30 a.m.
Culture

London Korean Film Festival 2018 screening

As part of the London Korean Film Festival 2018. Through untold ages, the menstrual cycle has been t...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 5, 2018, 2 p.m.
Culture

The natural world

Through a series of three relaxed gallery talks on 6, 13 and 20 November, participants will explore ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 6, 2018, 11:30 a.m.
Culture

Highlights of ancient South Asia in the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery

A gallery talk by Sushma Jansari, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by M...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 6, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Japanese prints: art and popular culture

A gallery talk by Alfred Haft, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by Muse...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 7, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Curator’s introduction to Japanese art at the British Museum

Continuity and change have shaped Japanese material culture since ancient times. Through extensive c...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 8, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
Culture

Woolley thinking: the British Museum at Carchemish

In 1920, following the Turkish War of Independence, the great Hittite and Neo-Hittite site of Carche...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 8, 2018, 4 p.m.
Culture

Collecting Histories: Southeast Asia

A gallery talk by Alexandra Green, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 9, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Members' early morning viewing of - FULLY BOOKED

Members can book to visit the exhibition before normal opening hours. King Ashurbanipal of Assyria...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 10, 2018, 9 a.m.
Culture

Build Roman Britain in Minecraft

Build a wall in Minecraft to mark the edges of your empire, or make a unique creation inspired by th...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 10, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

Japanese paintings: masterpieces in the British Museum collection

A gallery talk by Akiko Yano, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by Museu...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 10, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Emoji match

Borrow a smart watch to connect to the museum in exciting new ways. Play this fast paced game with y...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 11, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

Object Journeys: celebrating the work of families

Join us to mark the opening of in Room 24. Hear how the display was developed by the Museum’s Obje...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 11, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

Members' late night viewing of - FULLY BOOKED

Members can book to visit the exhibition after normal opening hours. King Ashurbanipal of Assyria ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 12, 2018, 6 p.m.
Culture

Rhyme and reason

Through a series of three relaxed gallery talks on 6, 13 and 20 November, participants will explore ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 13, 2018, 11:30 a.m.
Culture

First World War finds from northern Greece

A gallery talk by Andrew Shapland, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 13, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Artists' talk: works on paper

A gallery talk by artist Tim Harrisson. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by Museum staf...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 14, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

The plight of Assyrian heritage: two contemporary art responses

A gallery talk by Carine Harmand, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by M...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 15, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

the hidden meanings of a Chinese handscroll

, dated 1321, by Xie Chufang is one of the most important acquisitions of Chinese paintings by the B...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 15, 2018, 1:30 p.m.
Culture

Little feet: Ashurbanipal exhibition explorer

Explore the sounds, smells and sights of the royal court. Make your own musical instrument to take h...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 16, 2018, 10:30 a.m.
Culture

Pots with attitude: British satire on ceramics 1760–1830

A gallery talk by Patricia Ferguson, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given b...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 16, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Safavid Iran and Ottoman Turkey: two ceramic traditions

A gallery talk by Anne Haworth, independent speaker. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given b...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 17, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Egyptian photo booth

Join us in the Great Court to turn yourself into a pharaoh, an Egyptian god and other characters, us...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 18, 2018, 11 a.m.
Culture

The King's library

Through a series of three relaxed gallery talks on 6, 13 and 20 November, participants will explore ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 20, 2018, 11:30 a.m.
Culture

The royal lion hunt

A gallery talk by Gareth Brereton, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given by ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 20, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

An introduction to the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World

A gallery talk by William Greenwood, British Museum. Gallery talks last 45 minutes. They are given b...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 21, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
Culture

Heavenly advisors: the astrological purpose of public clocks in Italy

The annual Dingwall-Beloe Horological Lecture 2018 will be given by Dr Ing. Marisa Addomine. Guests ...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 22, 2018, 6 p.m.
Culture

The Annual William Fagg Lecture: humanising the Anthropocene of Madagascar

This year's speaker is Kristina Douglass, Pennsylvania State University. Madagascar figures prominen...

  • British Museum
  • Nov. 22, 2018, 6:15 p.m.
  • Great Russell St, Bloomsbury
  • London
  • UK
  • WC1B 3DG
Phone: (0)20 7323 8181
Email: info@britishmuseum.org
More information about the venue