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British Museum

The British Museum – the first national public museum in the world – was founded in 1753 by Sir Hans Sloane, physician, naturalist and collector of objects from around the world.
The Museum opened to the public on 15 January 1759. It was first housed in a seventeenth-century mansion, Montagu House, in Bloomsbury on the site of today’s building.
With the exception of two World Wars, the Museum has remained open ever since, gradually increasing its opening hours and moving from an attendance of 5,000 per year to today's 6 million.
 
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the British Museum collections were continuously increasing, with a great number of high profile acquisitions, as the Rosetta Stone (1802) or the Parthenon sculptures (1816), only to mention two extraordinary examples.
 
The Museum was also involved in much excavation abroad, among which the researches of Austen Henry Layard and Hormuzd Rassam at Nimrud and Nineveh.
The Assyrian collections formed the basis for the understanding of cuneiform writing.
 
Actually the British Museum houses numerous collections shared out in specific Departments: Africa, Oceania and the Americas; Ancient Egypt and Sudan; Asia; Coins and Medals; Greece and Rome; Middle East; Prehistory and Europe; Prints and Drawings.

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