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British Museum
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British Museum

British Museum easily denotes a museum exclusively dedicated to national treasures, and wrongly so. Only when you visit the museum however, do you realise that the museum has very little of the British identity its name suggests. Anchored on the platforms of culture, art, and human history, the museum illustrates and documents the history of human culture in totality. Today, the museum hosts over 8.2 million iconic works, originating from the five continents, and from almost every country in the world.

Located at the Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London, this is the largest, most expansive and comprehensive museum in the world. The original name was the Universal Museum, was perhaps more appropriate. Receiving more than 6.5 million visitors annually, the highest number for any museum in the world suggests that the British Museum is indeed a global and not a British attraction. The assortment of art antiquitiesin and objects in exhibition tells a story of how the human culture started and how it has gradually been reformed and adapted to contemporary trends.

Indeed, the only thing that connects the Rosetta Stone, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Egyptian mummies, Waddesdon Bequest’s renaissance metalware and the Parthenon sculptures as exhibited here, is the cultural narrative of a people who were continents and centuries apart, but still human. Sir Hans Sloane who lived between 1660 and 1753 is remembered largely not as Irish-born naturalist and British physician, but as a man whose will bequeathed King George II on behalf of the kingdom, a collection of artifacts and objects that pioneered the Universal Museum.

While the tickets for entry are free, the resultant experience is priceless. As you walk into the British Museum, forget the name British at the door, and adopt an open mind. The vast collection either in the permanent or special exhibition categories, are all but a testimony of the human race. What will be in display is not British, but the story of man across geographical terrains you may never visit, and cultures you may never witness. Among the many places you may want to visit in London today, the Universal Museum should be at the top of that list.

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