lunes, 12 de julio de 2010


The British Museum's collection of seven million objects representing the rich history of human cultures mirrors the city of London's global variety. In no other museum can the visitor see so clearly the history of what it is to be human.
Take a look at what goes on behind the scenes at the Museum. From conservation and storage, to research and acquiring new objects. Explore the permanent collection.
More than five million people pass through the doors of the British Museum every year. They come to view the galleries, take in temporary exhibitions, participate in events or just to spend a few moments in one of London’s most spectacular public buildings.
Working behind the scenes to make these visits possible are more than 1,000 members of staff, from cleaners, curators and conservators, to security, scientists and the schools team. Some provide the very latest scholarship to inform the displays, while some analyse and treat objects to make sure they will be preserved for the future. Others make sure the British Museum building is the best possible place to house those objects and provide access to them.

This is no simple task. The building occupies 75,000 square metres. That’s an area equivalent to nine football pitches or four times the arena of the Coliseum in Rome. Every morning before the doors open at 10.00 - and there are over 3,500 doors - it is made ready to receive its visitors. Cases are cleaned and dusted, objects are moved on or off display for study, conservation, or to be sent around the world on a touring exhibition. Light-bulbs are changed – almost 7,000 every year – floors cleaned, and brass handrails polished.
Perhaps the toughest maintenance assignment is the regular cleaning of the 3,300 panes of glass in the Great Court ceiling. It is a monumental task for a team of specially-trained abseilers and takes weeks at a time.
Back on the ground, the safety of visitors and the collection is maintained by a team of 320 security and gallery staff who monitor the building and galleries 24 hours a day.
In this section, we take a look at just some of the ways Museum staff take care of the collection, how research - sometimes in far away locations or in the science lab - helps us understand the collection, as well as work that goes into building the collection.
Prepare for a visit, or find out more after spending time in the galleries.

Admission is free
Open every day 10.00–17.30
Open late Thursday and Fridays

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