The oldest and largest of London’s exceptional museums, The British Museum safeguards around eight million objects. Custodian of historic artwork and important cultural artefacts, the establishment is home to a priceless wealth of anthropological history gathered from across two million years. It’s just steps away from The Montague on the Gardens, so guests can explore its intriguing collections at leisure. Here, we select eight of the best British Museum highlights not to miss this summer.
The Great Hall
It’s impossible not to be awed by The British Museum’s spectacular Great Hall. Europe’s largest covered square, it’s the beating heart of the museum. Its colossal glass and steel roof arches over 1st-century Roman statues and a 12m-tall Kayung totem pole carved by the Haida people of British Columbia, as well as the museum’s busy shops and cafés.
The Rosetta Stone
Guaranteed to rank high in any list of The British Museum highlights, the Rosetta Stone dates back to 196 BC. Etched with three ancient languages—hieroglyphic, Greek and Demotic—the monolith has assisted modern scholars in the translation of hieroglyphs. Prior to discovering it, the ancient Egyptian script hadn’t been deciphered since before the fall of the Roman Empire.
Further relics from ancient Egypt await in the form of 3,500-year-old tombs and beautifully embellished sarcophagi. The British Museum houses more than 140 Egyptian mummies and caskets, but only a select few are on show, due to space and preservation restrictions.
Another exceptional British Museum highlight, the classic Greek sculptures from the 2,500-year-old temple dedicated to goddess Athena are masterfully wrought and incredibly well preserved.
Discover Michelangelo’s only remaining full-scale drawing, Epifania. The work was created using black chalk in around 1550, and covers 26 sheets of paper.
Edvard Munch: Love and Angst
Featuring bloodthirsty vampires, sombre scenes of mourning and Munch’s iconic The Scream, Edvard Munch: Love and Angst displays a selection of the Norwegian painter’s haunting prints until 21st July. Art enthusiasts can make the most of the largest show of Munch’s prints in the UK for 45 years at The Montague on the Gardens’ Printmaking with Edvard Munch event. As part of Red Carnation Hotels’ inaugural Summer of Culture, enjoy an informative workshop focusing on Munch’s contribution to printmaking history and create your own work of art using wood blocks and copper plates. The event includes a welcome drink, a delicious BBQ feast and tickets to the exhibition.
Helmet and crushed skull from Ur
Among the more visceral British Museum highlights is this rather macabre exhibit, dating back to 2,500 BC. The helmet (and skull within it) belonged to an imperial palace guard of the ancient city of Ur, located in today’s Iraq.
Olduvai stone tool
Although this rock appears fairly innocuous at first glance, it’s the oldest article in the museum and was used as a chopping tool nearly two million years ago, placing it among the first-known technological inventions.
Explore The British Museum and its treasured highlights when you stay at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Montague on the Gardens.