The Best Exhibits at the British Museum


For those who like to visit museums and learn a lot about the history of different places, London is a treasure chest filled with many places of interest. Probably the most important of them is the British Museum .

The museum is free to enter but there are always temporary exhibitions which require an admission fee. It is open daily from 10:00 until 17:30 (late on Fridays).

Everyone who has heard about the British Museum also knows it is huge. If you don’t plan your visit at all and leave everything to “we’ll see what we’ll do when we get there” then chances are you won’t see much and you’ll probably miss exactly what you wanted to see.

That means you have to plan ahead. Here is a list of all the current special exhibitions in the museum. From my personal experience I can tell you that unless there’s something you really (but really, really) want to see from this section, then leave these exhibits for the last part of your visit or skip them altogether.

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You can print the floors plan and the galleries map from the website or you can get a booklet when you get at the museum (it’s free but donations of £1 are encouraged). Now, look for what interests you. The museum is divided into areas (eg. Ancient Greece and Rome, Asia, Ancient Egypt, Europe, etc) and each area is divided into numbered room.

After you get the map, just stop for a while in the Great Court and mark on the map what you want to see, in order of importance (for you!). Passionate about the Ancient Egypt? Then head to the Upper Floor , Level 3 (from sroom 61). A word of warning though: for some (including me) seeing mummies for real can be quite different than seeing them on TV.

The exhibitions I would recommend for anyone visiting British Museum are:

  • Ground Floor : Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, Middle East (Assyria)
  • Upper Floor: Ancient Egypt (live and death), Europe

Those will take about 4 (four) hours if you stop and read the captions, take photos, soak up the atmosphere. One of the rooms I enjoyed was Room 18, the Parthenon. It comprises the sculptures that once decorated the outside of the building. Videos are also shown on large displays and the information is very interesting and sheds light on what the exhibits are all about.

The mummies were also a very interesting exhibit, but I was a bit surprised by my reactions. I have seen mummies on TV but seeing them in the museum was different. Still, reading about the funeral preparations and rites shed more light onto the Egyptian culture (which has always fascinated me).

On the map you get from the museum you can also see 100 objects marked (The History of the World in 100 Objects). They are scattered in various rooms so seeing them in order will be daunting and you’ll lose a lot of time (unless you make this your goal and you can see the museum while hunting down these objects).

The British Museum is an ideal place to take the children, even if they are in elementary school. They can and will learn a lot from the displays. Activities and events for kids take place year round in the museum.

Photo credits: Cristina Puscas and may not be used without permission.