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The British Museum

The British Museum consisting of the National Museum of Archeology and Ethnography and the National Library is the largest and richest of its kind in the world. Built in the middle of the last century it is situated in central London which consists of quiet squares and streets.

The British Museum was founded by Act of Parliament in 1753 to bring together the collection of Sir Robert Cotton, some others and future addition to them.

Anthony Panizzi designed the famous circular Reading Room at the British Museum.The first thing that strikes a visitor on entering the Reading Room is its unusual shape. It is a perfect circle. The superintendent (управляющий) and his assistant sit in the centre of the room and they issue (выдавать) and collect books. Long rows of reading desks radiate to the outer walls, like the spokes (спицы) of the wheel.

Many famous people have used the Reading Room at the British Museum. Of the many distinguished people who have used the Reading Room no one was perhaps more regular and more intent (целеустремленный) than the German philosopher and socialist Karl Marx. Soon after he arrived in England in 1849, Marx became a daily visitor of the Reading Room, where he used to remain from nine in the morning till closing time.

The British Museum has a department of ethnography.Ethnograthy is concerned with primitive people and their cultures in various stages of development as revealed by their tools, ritual objects and various crafts (ремесло). This collection is so vast that only a tiny percentage is on show to the general public. Then there is a department of prints and drawings. There are also departments devoted to maps, coins and medals. Visitors interested in chronology can see a large collection of docks and watches. Those who are interested in philately can find a magnificent collection of postage stamps.

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