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
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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.

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


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.

Shifting Patterns: Pacific barkcloth clothing

  • 5 February — 16 August 2015 *on now

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 *on now

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.
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.