The number of visitors in the early years ran to some 12, people a year, who came to see the antiquities from Aztec Mexico to Ancient Egypt to India and Japan, the classical statues, the natural history and geological items, the manuscripts and drawings, coins and medals. The Egyptian mummies particularly fascinated early visitors.
Reputable scholars were allowed to work in the reading rooms. In the early days they included the philosopher David Hume.here
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Purchases and gifts swiftly augmented the collections and the museum was well on its way. Skip to main content.
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Harkening back to the Edo period, this armour forged by Unkai Mitsunao is unique because a number of its pieces come from different times with a 16th century bulletproof breastplate and elaborate neck and leg pieces from the 18th century. Brought to Britain by Commodore Richard Ashmore Powell while on a surveillance expedition to Easter Island in , the basalt statue also features carvings of birds and rings on its back, commanding the attention of those that pass by.
These delicate Persian relics were crafted by master gold and silversmiths in fourth and fifth century BC and they remain just as impressive to this day. The British Museum holds one of the most important collections of Achaemenid gold and features a stunning Oxus horse and chariot sculpture, amongst many other works.
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50 of London's most unusual (but fascinating) museums
Make a note of the best things to see at the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone While at a first glance this stone slab may not look like much, it was the key to unlocking the secret of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and is easily the most visited exhibit in the museum. Mummy of Katebet The British museum is home to many amazingly preserved mummies, but the mummy of a Chantress of Amun named Katebet is its most impressive.
The Elgin Marbles These gorgeous sculptures have long been at the centre of controversy since they were first taken by Lord Elgin from the original Parthenon in Greece in the early s, built to honour the goddess Athena. Lewis Chessmen How about a game of chess? Samurai Armour Steering away from Britain altogether to shores on the other side of the world, this Japanese warrior armour still cuts an imposing figure today with its terrifying mask and helmet.
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