The British Museum – An important place

Most people know that the British Museum has been around for a long time. It has been around for over 255 years already! The Museum was created on the collections from Sir Hans Sloane, a very enterprising Physician who earned his money owning vast sugar plantations in Jamaica.

How the British Museum came to be

We all know that Britain was a force to be reckoned with on the high seas, with Britain colonising a quarter of the World in the late 19th century. All kinds of amazing treasure were taken and put on display at the British Museum, for example, the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon. The Elgin Marbles (or rightfully known as the Parthenon Marbles) are a collection of Greek Marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural pieces that were part of the temple of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. These were taken by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin in 1801. In recent times many countries have called for these treasures to be given back to them. The British Museum has given it some thought.

The Elgin Marbles

The famous Elgin Marbles of the Parthenon.

Museum Pieces

The museum is home to over 8 million pieces and is one of the largest and most comprehensive in existence. With this sheer volume of pieces there is bound to be some that are quite controversial. For example there was once an erotic Japanese art exhibition which was dubbed “raunchier than Page 3” by Sun editor David Dinsmore. The controversial exhibition had 87,893 visitors in 3 months and is one of the most successful in the museum’s history!

In 2004 a thief was thought to have walked out of the museum with pretty earrings, hairpins and fingernail guards, some of which date back to 700AD!

In 2005, a little-known hoaxer named Banksy tricked museum staff by putting a ‘cave painting’ of a caveman pushing a supermarket trolley on display! A museum spokesperson shrugged off the hoax at the time, saying  ‘It was only up for a couple of days.’

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