How to Make Sense of the British Museum
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How to Make Sense of the British Museum

Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, British Museum
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Your quick and easy guide to one of the most comprehensive permanent collections in the world.

For the first-timer

It’s massive. Plan your attack or you’ll burn out. The Lindow Man and the Egyptian mummies are creepycool. The tessellated glass roof in the Great Court is awe-inspiring and Instagram-worthy. The Rosetta Stone’s always mobbed—just skip it.

Most overlooked

The clocks and watches room. Yeah, it sounds boring, but go just before the hour for a harmony of tinkles and bongs when the clocks strike—it’s kind of magical. Also magical: a ship clock that once fired cannons and played music to mark the time.

Return trip to-dos

The gold jewelry and ornaments in the Ancient Iran room bring the country’s cultural history to life. Same goes for the European artifacts, such as Anglo-Saxon burial masks and 12th-century chess pieces made from walrus tusks. Don’t miss the controversial Elgin Marbles: they make up half the surviving Parthenon sculptures, and are some of the finest Athenian artifacts in the world.

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