London is home to some of the world’s best museums where people are able to see in-depth collections and artifacts from all over the world. Many big museums are admission free and are open to public throughout the year. People can explore them on their own or join guided tours and talks. Special exhibitions are held frequently and charges are applied for these events. Below are details about a few of London’s most famous museums:
Founded in 1753 by Act of Parliament, the British Museum’s collections range from prehistoric times to the modern age. Famous objects include The Rosetta Stone, sculptures from The Parthenon, The Sutton Hoo and Mildenhall treasures and The Portland Vase. The Museum offers late shows on Thursdays and Fridays, these often include talks or debates centered around exhibitions.
Founded in 1857 with pieces from the collection of the Royal Society of Arts and surplus items from the Great Exhibition, the Museum offers an array of over 300,000 items, including monumental pieces of technology from Stephenson’s Rocket to the Apollo 10 command module. It also contains hundreds of interactive exhibits. The Museum recently introduced IMAX 3D Cinema showing science and nature documentaries, and the Wellcome Wing which focuses on digital technology. Entrance is free, except for the IMAX 3D Cinema, simulators and some special exhibitions.
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
Founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, it is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Its collections span 5000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.
The Natural History Museum
Originally a department of the British Museum with the formal name British Museum (Natural History), it petitioned to gain independence in 1866 by the heads of the Royal, Linnean and Zoological Societies as well as naturalists including Darwin, Wallace and Huxley. After nearly one hundred years of heated discussions, the British Museum Act of 1963 enabled the British Museum (Natural History) to become an independent museum with its own Board of Trustees. It is now know as The Natural History Museum. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research, specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. It is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. It is famous for its extensive collections, which are valuable both historically and scientifically, and for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons. It is admired for its ornate architecture.