Episode 25: The British Museum
Hazel Baker: Hello and welcome to our London History Podcast, where we share our love of London, its people, places, and history in 20-minute espresso shot episode served with a dash of personality. I am Hazel Baker, London tour guide and CEO of London Guided Walks, providing private tours, treasure hunts, guided walks and live London quizzes to Londoners and visitors alike.
To accompany this podcast, we also have hundreds of London history-related blog posts for you to enjoy, absolutely free. And don't forget, we've launched The Daily London, providing you with daily inspiration of things to do in London for Londoners. You can listen on iTunes, Spotify, or even add it to your Alexa flash briefings.
Also to say that our guided walks and treasure hunts on our back hurrah. So Ian's kicking off with his Medieval Walk and then he's doing a brand new walk in Greenwich as we are now official partners of visit Greenwich.
Alright. Now. On with the show.
What we discussed:
Today, The British Museum has become one of the largest museums in the world. Covering a staggering area of over 92,000 square meters. It has a permanent collection of over 8 million works from all continents. It was established in 1753, largely based on the 71,000 item collection of the physician, naturalist, and collector, Sir Hans Sloane. The British Museum first opened to the public in 1759 at Montague House, which is on the site of the modern day museum.
It's expansion over the next 250 years resulted in the creation of several branch institutions. The first being what is now known as the Natural History Museum. Taking advantage of the quieter London streets, City of London tour guide Ian McDiarmid and I visited The British Museum, not once but twice. And we're here today to share our experiences.
What was your experience of visiting the British Museum like?
Hazel Baker: There was plenty to see in that time. We didn't feel rushed.
Ian McDiarmid: You were saying that the whole point about the visit was to go during these times of the COVID because there are two things: there's the push factor that speaking personally, I'm stuck at home and fed up with it and want to go out. And then there's second, the attraction there are a few people around.
Obviously one of the most important things in The British Museum is the Egyptian Collection. Perhaps we focus too much on this but if I'm honest, that's the main reason for me going these two times.
Hazel Baker: I do love looking at this stuff and they've got like, a copy of the first example of a coinage ever in the world. I mean, it's amazing, but it's literally just on the shelf with loads of other items. And there's just a little bit a cardboard saying what this is and that's it. And hey, just, there's so much to know.
Ian McDiarmid: For me it was the Egyptian stuff that was the big draw. I spent about two hours just looking at the Egyptian stuff on the second visit as a result of that, I was completely tired out.
Ian McDiarmid: So Hazel, was there anything else from the, about the general visitor experience that struck you going round?
Hazel Baker: So Ian, what are your recommendations for people to see at the British Museum?
Hazel Baker: And anything else on your favourite list for people to see?
And, I have written a blog post about this one, so that's rather good timing, isn't it? And that's on the website now?
Ian McDiarmid: And what about you, Hazel? Do you have a favourite object to talk about?
Hazel Baker: Favourite object? Hmm...not one.
Hazel Baker: That's all from us for now. Don't forget to check out our blog posts and also The Daily London for inspiration for things to do in London for Londoners. And of course, get yourself on a guided walk. It'd be lovely to see you.
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