Celebrating a very important anniversary

Two days ago has been celebrated the 255th anniversary of the opening of one of the most important museum in the world: The British Museum.

It was the first ever national public museum and for this reason free to all and it aimed to attract "all studious and curious persons". It was on 1759.

Its original location was in a mansion called Montague House, that was in the seame site of the current building.

'The British Museum in Montague House: the Russell Street facade', The Wellcome Library, CC BY-NC
(Montague House - image from Europeana)


Very soon Montague House became too small and was demolished along with other buildings nearby during the construction work in order to build new wings and galleries. The result is the wonderful neo-classical building as we now know it.

Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace) was also considered as a plot to accomodate the museum, but the project was rejected because it would be too expensive and in an unsuitable location.



'The British Museum: the main facade', The Wellcome Library, CC BY-NC
(image from Europeana)


The museum also housed the royal library (what later became the British Library one of the world's two biggest libraries, opened only in 1973).


In the early years of its opening were recorded just over 70 daily visits. 
Take a look at this ground plan of 19th century:
'Ground plan of the British Museum', Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya, CC BY-NC-ND
(Ground floor plan - image from Europeana)


























Today is one of the most visited museum of the world: in 2013 there were 6,701,036 visits, beating the previous record of 5.9m in 2008 and up 20% on 2012. The busiest day of the year was Friday 16 August – it was raining – and the busiest month ever was July, with 747,936 visits.




My shot, 3 weeks ago!




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