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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The British Museum opened to the public this day in 1759 at Montagu House

For which many of us are profoundly thankful!
While the British Museum was founded in 1753 as a result of a bequest in the will of Sir Hans Sloan (1660- 1753), the physician, naturalist and collector, it first opened to the public on 15 January 1759.
Not wishing his collection of 71,000 items to be split up, Sloan bequeathed his collection to King George II for the nation in return for a payment of £20,000 to his heirs.  The gift was accepted and on 7 June 1753, an Act of Parliament established the British Museum.
The British Museum opened to the public on 15 January 1759 . It was first housed in seventeenth-century Montagu House, Bloomsbury on the site of today's building. Entry was free and given to ‘all studious and curious Persons’.
Having been one of those curious persons I am grateful.  And since I don't live in the UK, I enjoy their website as well.

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