The British National Museum is justly considered to be the pride of London. It is a unique treasury keeping the enormous experience of the civilization and having about seven million of exhibits. The history of the British Museum dates back to far 1753. While the first visitor stepped under the museum vaults on the 15th of September 1759. As it often happens, the museum owes its existence to the generosity of patrons. Only three persons managed to make such a foundation which allowed the museum to rise this high. The richest collections of Hans Sloane, the famous library of Robert Cotton, the unique manuscripts of Robert Harley – these all became first exhibits of the museum and foredoomed its further destiny, the destiny of the universal museum.
Probably the most important landmarks in the museum history became the building of an awesome reading hall – the truly grand construction. It was shaped as a domed building (43 meters in diameter) that seated 300 readers at once. The further development of the museum was the creation of the British Library under its roof. Thus, the British National Museum represented a unique combination of a museum itself and a splendid library. They stayed together till 1997 – the year when the library moved to a new building.
The initial contributions of the patrons determined the unique destiny of the museum: it belonged neither to the government nor to the church. Besides, today one can visit the museum absolutely for free. Another outstanding feature of the place was the fact that it accumulated so different exhibits in its walls. The collection of the British Museum had become so big that gave birth to a sister museum. In 1887 there was held an opening ceremony of the Natural History Museum that admitted a huge number of corresponding exhibits. Thehistoryofthemuseumextendsbackover 250 years. Starting from a modest collection of contributions, it turned into a powerful alliance of tremendously numerous cultural and historic values, which all together represent the priceless heritage of all mankind.
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