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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.
Selected galleries are open until 20.30 on Thursdays and Fridays.
The Museum is closed on 1 January and 24, 25, 26 December.
Admission is free to all visitors. Charges may apply for special exhibitions and events.
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, Weapons and War
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.
- 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.
- Family friendly
Ming: 50 years that changed China
- 18 September 2014 — 5 January 2015 *on now
This major exhibition will explore a golden age in China’s history.
Between AD 1400 and 1450, China was a global superpower run by one family – the Ming dynasty – who established Beijing as the capital and built the Forbidden City. During this period, Ming China was thoroughly connected with the outside world. Chinese artists absorbed many fascinating influences, and created some of the most beautiful objects and paintings ever made.
The exhibition will feature a range of these spectacular objects – including exquisite porcelain, gold, jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculptures and textiles – from museums across China and the rest of the world. Many of them have only been very recently discovered and have never been seen outside China.
- Any age
Adults £16.50, Members free
Witches and Wicked Bodies
- 25 September 2014 — 11 January 2015 *on now
This exhibition will examine the portrayal of witches and witchcraft in art from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. It will feature prints and drawings by artists including Durer, Goya, Delacroix, Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti alongside classical Greek vessels and Renaissance maiolica.
- Any age
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.
Pilgrims, healers and wizards: Buddhism and religious practices in Burma and Thailand
- 2 October 2014 — 11 January 2015 *on now
Featuring objects from the 18th century to present day, this exhibition shows the variety of religious practices in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, and how Buddhism, spirit worship, divination and other activities interact.
- Any age
Germany: memories of a nation
- 16 October 2014 — 25 January 2015 *on now
From the Renaissance to reunification and beyond, the show will use objects to investigate the complexities of addressing a German history which is full of both triumphs and tragedies.
Explore art by Durer, Holbein and Richter, and marvel at the technological achievements which gave the world the Gutenburg bible, the Bauhuas movement and the VW Beetle.
- Any age
£10, Members and under 16s FREE.
Bonaparte & the British
- 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.
- 22 December 2014 11am-4pm *on now
- 27 — 31 December 2014
- 2 — 3 January 2015 11am-4pm
Be inspired by German art and create your own 'street art' - digital graffiti or design your own VW Beetle.
Free, just drop in.
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.
British Museum Webquests
Webquests are online activities for children, using the collections of nine national museums and galleries.