Descrizione (in inglese) del British Museum.
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British Museum British Museum British Museum, the national museum of antiquities and, until 1973, the national library of Great Britain, located in London.
The British Museum was founded in 1753, incorporating the collection of the British physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane; the Harleian Collection, formed by the statesman Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford; and the Cottonian Library, organized by the antiquarian Sir Robert Cotton. In 1847 the building on Great Russell Street, in the Bloomsbury section of London, was completed. It now houses ten departments and part of the British Library. The Departments of Prehistoric and Romano-British Antiquities and of Medieval and Later Antiquities house works of art from prehistoric Europe through the medieval periods and the Renaissance, and up to the 20th century.
The Department of Coins and Medals embraces all cultures and periods, including Greek, Roman, and Oriental specimens, and the Royal Collection presented by King George IV. The Department of Egyptian Antiquities, housing one of the world's most extensive collections, is particularly noted for the Rosetta Stone and for its large holdings of papyri, mummies, and mummy cases. The Department of Ethnography comprises objects from indigenous peoples throughout the world, in particular the collection formed in the 18th century by Captain James Cook. These objects are on exhibition at the Museum of Mankind, in another part of London. The Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities contains many famous works of art. Among them are the Roman glass vessel of the 1st century AD, known as the Portland vase; the frieze of the temple of Apollo at Bassae in Greece; the Elgin Marbles; and sculptures from the mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Turkey. The Department of Oriental Antiquities houses collections of Oriental and Islamic art and archaeology, notably Chinese ceramics and Indian sculpture. The Department of Prints and Drawings contains a major collection of European graphic art from the late Middle Ages to the present. The Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities exhibits Mesopotamian and related artifacts, from before 5000 BC to the advent of Islam in the 7th century AD. The collection includes much material excavated at the ancient city of Ur by the English archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley. Other departmental divisions of the museum are the Research Laboratory and the Department of Conservation. The museum also publishes numerous catalogs and handbooks on the collections.