London is the home to several world class museums and art galleries. From over 300 museums to choose from tourists are often left confused as to which ones to visit. All national museums offer free entry with free audio tours and guide books. The British Museum located in central London is one of the must see attractions of the city. This museum is majorly based on collected works of its founder and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It attracts millions of tourists every year who enjoy and explore the huge collection of artefacts.
The British Museum was opened to public viewing in the year 1759 and since then it has been subjected to constant expansion. One of the unique features of the museum is that it lodges both a museum of artefacts and a national library within the same premises. In 1997 the library was moved to a new location.
The Quadrangle building is the main part of the museum and is made up of four wings: the north, south, west and east. This building was designed by Sir Robert Smirke and was completed 30 years after the idea about the building was conceived. This Greek style building features columns and pediments at its entrance. In 1853 the building won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Gold Medal. Other important parts of the building include the circular domed Reading Room and the Great Court designed by Norman Foster. The Reading Room was completed in the year 1857 and after refurbishment it was reopened in the year 2000. Today it is used to host major exhibitions in the museum. This building was designed by Sydney Smirke. The Great Court was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in the year 2000. The building houses two major galleries; The Sainsbury Gallery and the Wellcome Trust Gallery. While the former is the home to the collection from Africa the latter displays objects based on the Living and Dying.
The museum is enormous in size and houses more than 13 million antiquities at the British Museum, 70 million at the Natural History Museum and 150 million at the National Library. Most tourists will not be able to visit every department in the museum. However, the museum offers 30 minute tours called the ‘Eye Opener’ tours. These tours aim at bringing out the major gist of the museum and its history. There are about 15 types of tours to choose from which run throughout the day. Tour guides deliver these tours in an interesting way and ensure that language is not a bar. Tourists claim that these walking tours with the help of tour guides are the best way to explore the magnum opus. Information points located at different parts of the museum provide information about the different departments within the museum. The museum is a common target of learning among school and college students. It has all basic facilities such as Toilets, infant rooms, large luggage storage rooms and cloakrooms.