British Museum

British Museum
Great Russell Street
Greater London





020 7323 8299

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
An enclosed courtyard with a glass roof and a round building in the centre
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Founded in 1753, the British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history. Enjoy a unique comparison of the treasures of world cultures under one roof, centred around the magnificent Great Court.

World-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies are visited by up to six million visitors per year. In addition to the vast permanent collection, the museum’s special exhibitions, displays and events are all designed to advance understanding of the collection and cultures they represent.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Museum galleries are open daily 10.00–17.30, and most are open until 20.30 on Fridays. Closing starts from 17.20 (20.20 on Fridays).

Closed: 24-26 December
1 January
Good Friday

The Museum is closed on 1 January and 24, 25, 26 December.

Admission charges

Admission is free to all visitors. Charges may apply for special exhibitions and events.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Medicine, Music, Science and Technology, Social History, Weapons and War, World Cultures

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
British Museum

Ancient lives, new discoveries

  • 22 May 2014 — 19 April 2015 *on now

This exhibition will introduce you to eight people from ancient Egypt and Sudan whose bodies have been preserved, either naturally or by deliberate embalming. Using the latest technology, the exhibition will unlock hidden secrets to build up a picture of their lives in the Nile Valley over a remarkable 4,000 years – from prehistoric Egypt to Christian Sudan.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly


£10 (free for under-16s)

Sutton Hoo and Europe, AD 300–1100

  • 1 June 2014 — 1 June 2016 *on now

The centuries AD 300–1100 witnessed great change in Europe. The Roman Empire broke down in the west, but continued as the Byzantine Empire in the east. People, objects and ideas travelled across the continent, while Christianity and Islam emerged as major religions.

By 1100, the precursors of several modern states had developed. Europe as we know it today was taking shape. Room 41 gives an overview of the period and its peoples. Its unparalleled collections range from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, and from North Africa to Scandinavia.

The gallery’s centrepiece is the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk – one of the most spectacular and important discoveries in British archaeology.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Poetry and exile

  • 1 October 2014 — 29 March 2015 *on now

This display, drawn from recent acquisitions of works by artists of the Middle East and North Africa at the British Museum, explores the effects of exile through the eyes of five artists.

There are many forms of exile expressed here. For Canan Tolon, it is exile from her home in Istanbul as a result of contracting polio as a child, the story of which she evokes in Futur Imparfait. Ipek Duben’s book Refugee, with its delicate gauze pages, belies the terror and helplessness of people forced to flee their homeland. Mona Saudi and Abdallah Benanteur combine the powerful verses of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish with drawings, while Mireille Kassar conjures a story of exile from her own family history and the Persian poem The Conference of the Birds.

The acquisition of these works has been supported by CaMMEA, a fund set up to support acquisitions of modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art. Canan Tolon’s Futur Imparfait is additionally supported by SAHA.



Connecting continents: Indian Ocean trade and exchange

  • 27 November 2014 — 31 May 2015 *on now

For thousands of years, the Indian Ocean has been a space through which people, objects and ideas have circulated. The navigable monsoon winds enabled merchants to travel between Africa, the Middle East and Asia, exchanging valuable commodities such as textiles, spices and ceramics. From early coastal trade between the great ancient civilisations of the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia through to the heyday of European East India Companies and to the present, the Indian Ocean has remained a dynamic economic maritime zone.

This display presents objects from across different sections of the British Museum’s collection, including a 19th-century boat from Indonesia, created entirely from cloves and a Roman necklace made from sapphires and garnets, to tell this long and fascinating history of global interaction.

The Meroë Head of Augustus: Africa defies Rome

  • 11 December 2014 — 15 February 2015 *on now

When the Meroë Head was excavated in 1910, it caused an immediate sensation. It is remarkably well preserved and only survived because in antiquity it was ritually buried far from the borders of the Roman Empire. In this display you will come face to face with this potent symbol of Rome’s authority, and see how grains of sand, fused to the corroded surface of the bronze, still hint at its dramatic fate.

Augustus became sole ruler in 27 BC, after a civil war that followed Julius Caesar’s assassination. The Meroë Head must have been created soon after. Uniquely among Augustus’ bronze portraits, it preserves inlaid eyes that vividly capture his powerful gaze. Originally, it must have been part of a statue set up in a settlement at the southern border of Egypt, soon after the Roman conquest.

Shifting Patterns: Pacific barkcloth clothing

  • 5 February — 16 August 2015

Discover a selection of clothing from the Pacific made of bark cloth. Including a myriad of styles and designs, these garments are used to wrap, drape and adorn the body, reflecting the ongoing relevance of barkcloth as a tradition.

Suitable for

  • Any age
propaganda cartoon from British Museum exhibition Bonaparte & the British

Bonaparte & the British - prints and propaganda in the age of Napoleon

  • 5 February — 16 August 2015

This exhibition will focus on the printed propaganda that either reviled or glorified Napoleon Bonaparte, on both sides of the English Channel. It explores how his formidable career coincided with the peak of political satire as an art form.

2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – the final undoing of brilliant French general and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). The exhibition will include works by British and French satirists who were inspired by political and military tensions to exploit a new visual language combining caricature and traditional satire with the vigorous narrative introduced by Hogarth earlier in the century.


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Curses! The British Museum's 'unlucky' mummy

  • 30 January 2015 6:30-7:30pm

There are two items in the museum's Ancient Egyptian collection that are associated with alleged curses. An Egyptian coffin lid, part of the collection since 1889, has been the source of numerous stories of curses, malignant influences and haunting. The cartonnage mask donated in 1885 also comes with an extraordinary back story.

Roger Luckhurst will explore the true and fateful history of the 'cursed' Victorian gentlemen, Thomas Douglas Murray and Walter Herbert Ingram, who donated these items. The stories of these men were well known in Edwardian London. Although they have been largely forgotten, these thrilling tales formed the basis for all the 'curse of the mummy' stories that followed.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


£5, members and concessions £3

Exploring Egyptian Mummies

  • 31 January 2015 11am-4pm

Explore digital techniques used by Museum scientists to uncover the secrets of the ancient Egyptians, and see if you can make your own Museum discovery!

Shadow Puppets

  • 1 February 2015 11am-4pm

Learn about the ancient tradition of shadow-puppetry in Java and then decorate your own beautiful puppets.

Use voice recording software and video cameras to then bring your characters to life through film. Sessions last 120 mins

The new world order

  • 6 February 2015 6:30-7:30pm

With Tariq Ali, author of non-fiction books, novels and plays. As well as collaborating with Olivia Stone on documentary films, he is on the editorial committee of the New Left Review.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


£10, members and concessions £8

Photography mystery trails

  • 7 February 2015 11am-4pm

Use a digital camera to explore Museum objects, and follow exciting photography trails through the galleries.

Greeks alive!

  • 8 February 2015 11am-4pm

Use stop-motion software and digital video cameras to create animations based on myths from ancient Greece.

Against self-criticism

  • 13 February 2015 6:30-7:30pm

With Adam Phillips, a psychoanalyst who worked for 17 years at Charing Cross Hospital. He has written 19 books and is the general editor of the new Penguin Freud.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


£10, members and concessions £8

Egyptian photo booth

  • 14 February 2015 11am-4pm

Turn yourself into a pharaoh, an Egyptian god and other characters using a range of digital technology.

Year of the Goat

  • 16 — 20 February 2015

Be creative and make something to take home, help create a giant artwork in the Great Court or listen to stories about China.

The giant artwork will remain on display in the Great Court for everyone to see and enjoy throughout the week. Each day will have a different programme, so come back as often as you can.

Little feet: kidding around

  • 19 — 20 February 2015 11am-1pm

Join other under 5s and their parents and carers in this session to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Goat using sight, sound, smell and touch.

Learning my lesson

  • 20 February 2015 6:30-7:30pm

With Marina Warner. She has written 16 works of non-fiction as well as 5 novels.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


£10, members and concessions £8

Olympic champions!

  • 21 February 2015 11am-4pm

Become an ancient Greek Olympian using a green screen and edit your portrait in Photoshop to print and take home.

Digital dress up

  • 22 February 2015 11am-4pm

Turn yourself into a Samurai warrior, an ancient Greek or other characters using Photoshop.

Dress yourself in wonderful outfits from different cultures and times. Activity takes 30–40 mins.

Maniac Ravings, 1803 James Gillray (1756 - 1815), London

'Little Boney' or Napoleon le Grand?

  • 24 February 2015 1:15-2pm

'Little Boney' or Napoleon le Grand? A gallery talk by Sheila O'Connell, British Museum.


Room 90.


Chinese adventures

  • 28 February 2015 11am-4pm

Take part in a range of digital activities inspired by China. Find your zodiac character, make your own digital vase and more!

La famille Anglaise au Museum à Paris, 1814, Anonymous, Paris

Song and satire: an evening’s balladry for Bonaparte and the British

  • 6 March 2015 6:30-7:30pm

200 years ago, everyone was talking about Napoleon. They were also singing. Join us in listening (and even singing along) to an eclectic selection of songs and music theatre from the Napoleonic Wars. Ranging from sabre-rattling odes to poignant laments, taking in glory, sex, comedy, satire, and fantastic tunes, these British, French and German pieces are presented and performed by a motley alliance of academics and folk musicians, bringing the prints on the


The King of Brobdingnag, and Gulliver, 1803 James Gillray (1756 - 1815) after Thomas Braddyll (1776 - 1862), London

Performing Napoleon: Regency toy theatre show

  • 13 March 2015 6:30-8pm

BM/PM takes place every second Friday of the month. Relax at the bar with friends and catch performances that take a fresh look at the Museum’s collection.

Come to the exhibition Bonaparte and the British in Room 90 to see Regency-era toy theatre productions of The Battle of Waterloo (1824) and Bonaparte’s Invasion of
Russia (1825), performed with live music.

The origins of the English toy theatre date back to 1811 when William West published the 'first cheap theatrical print'. West’s versions of these plays, based on performances at Astley’s Amphitheatre, have been unavailable and unperformed since West’s death in 1854, until now.

Free, just drop in, limited seating

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Napoleon le Grand, 1808 Auguste Gaspard Louis Boucher Desnoyers (1779 - 1857) after François Gérard (1770 - 1837), Paris

British admirers of Napoleon

  • 24 March 2015 1:15-2pm

British admirers of Napoleon. A gallery talk by Sheila O'Connell, British Museum.


painting of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Wellington and the French: a family view

  • 30 April 2015 1:30-2:30pm

The first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, never met his great military rival Napoleon Bonaparte, but his relationship with France began when, as a 16-year-old, he enrolled at the French Royal Academy of Equitation in Anger.

His brother Henry and sister Anne were captured by the French in 1794 and remained imprisoned in the country throughout the height of the terror. His admiration for the French survived his campaigns in the Peninsular War and Waterloo.

Lady Jane Wellesley, writer and descendant of the Iron Duke, explores his complex relationship with the country from his early years to his death at Walmer Castle on the Kent coast.


BP Lecture Theatre. Free, booking essential.


Napoleon le Grand, 1808 Auguste Gaspard Louis Boucher Desnoyers (1779 - 1857) after François Gérard (1770 - 1837), Paris

Napoleon the Great

  • 19 June 2015 6:30-7:30pm

Award-winning historian and writer, Andrew Roberts, talks on Napoleon: military genius, astute leader of men, and one of the world’s greatest soldier-statesmen.

Roberts’ Napoleon the Great is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation.

Roberts shares some of his research for the book that took him to fifty-three of Napoleon’s sixty battle sites and even included the long boat trip to St. Helena, the site of Napoleon’s final exile and death.


BP Lecture Theatre
£5, Members/concessions £3

Babel, babbling and the British Museum

  • 26 November 2041 1:15-2pm

A gallery talk by Irving Finkel, British Museum.

Gallery talks last 45 minutes.

They are given by Museum staff or guest speakers and are suitable for all levels of knowledge.



Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

British Museum Webquests

Webquests are online activities for children, using the collections of nine national museums and galleries.