A colour lithograph showing the view of the British Museum from Great Russell Street

The British Museum story

The first national public museum of the world.

The British Museum was founded in 1753, and opened its doors in 1759, as the first national museum to cover all fields of human knowledge, open to visitors from across the world.

Enlightenment ideals and values - critical scrutiny of all assumptions, open debate, scientific research, progress and tolerance - have marked the Museum since its foundation.

Insatiable curiosity for the world, a deep belief in objects as reliable witnesses and documents of human history, sound research, the desire to expand and share knowledge, have all driven its development ever since.