A celebration of the British Museum. (Reviews).The British Museum British Museum, the national repository in London for treasures in science and art. Located in the Bloomsbury section of the city, it has departments of antiquities, prints and drawings, coins and medals, and ethnography. : A History. David M. Wilson Sir David Mackenzie Wilson, KB (born October 30 1931) is an archaeologist, specialising in the Viking Age, and a museum director.
He was the director of the British Museum from 1977 to 1992. . The British Museum Press. [pounds sterling]35.00. 416 pages. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 0-7141-2764-7.
The author of this monumental study, Sir David Wilson David Wilson may refer to:
Sir David begins his story with Sir Hans Sloane This article is about the physician and collector. For the Member of Parliament, see Hans Sloane (MP).
Sir Hans Sloane, Bart. (April 16, 1660 – January 11, 1753) was an Ulster-Scot physician and collector, notable for bequeathing his collection to the British nation and his magnificent library and collections. Whilst Sloane had an 'aspiration to universalism' his collections also formed 'a miscellany illustrating English history up to the Restoration'. These he left to the nation at his death in 1753 and these formed the core of the Museum. Soon other collections were added to build up the new Museum's holding and the Trustees purchased Montagu House in Great Russell Street. By 1750 the Museum began issuing tickets for visitors to see the books and manuscript collections, albeit on a limited basis. The foundation had been set for the Museum as it was to function until the creation of the British Library.
Whilst the author notes the various magnificent gifts to the library, such as George ill's great library--the King was not only a great reader but a great collector--as well as the Townley Collection and the Elgin Marbles, he concentrates on the gradual development of the Museum. It is a very English story, a mixture of government action and private initiative, with some planning and some haphazard developments spread over many years.
Steadily the institution became an important presence in the country's life and the number of visitors increased just as steadily. By the 1 830s it was obvious that a bigger and better building was required. By the I 1850s the new building, 'now accepted as one of the great buildings of London... [and] perhaps the greatest Greek Revival building in the country', had been finished to give us the setting we know today.
Sir David has no doubt that the last forty years of the nineteenth century were 'the most important in the history of the Museum'. The natural history collection was moved to the new museum in South Kensington and the vacated space was used by the library and antiquities departments. A new wing was added; new departments such as ethnography were begun; new collections were acquired; and increasingly the library and the antiquities began to go their separate ways with the manuscript collection somewhere between the two. The twentieth century was a period of further consolidation, enlargement and building despite the upheaval caused by the Second World War and German aerial attacks on London. In between the accounts of great events there are the little stories that make this history come alive and the author has his villains and heroes: Edward Heath's lack of interest and his administration's decision to levy admission charges qualify him for the former whilst the twenty-seventh Earl of Crawford's good sense an d erudition er·u·di·tion
Deep, extensive learning. See Synonyms at knowledge.
Erudition of editors—Hare.
Noun 1. as a trustee qualify him for the latter.
In 1963 Parliament created a new and smaller body of trustees and then, in 1972, divided the books and manuscripts from the main collections to form a new, British Library which then left the B.M. to its new home. While many researchers, including this reviewer, were saddened by having to exchange Great Russell Street for the flat ugliness of St Pancras, there is no doubt that the Museum has made good use of the new space; the covering of the Great Court was a magnificent achievement. Sir David is in no doubt that despite the meanness of the present government, 'no other museum is held in such respect internationally... it remains the greatest museum in the world'. This is a scholarly, erudite er·u·dite
Characterized by erudition; learned. See Synonyms at learned.
[Middle English erudit, from Latin and clearly written history yet one whose story is interspersed with the individuals who have, over 250 years, made the British Museum what it is.
The British Museum Press has also published The Story of the British Museum ([pounds sterling]8.99) by Marjorie Caygill, the Assistant to the Director of the Museum. She has published several books on the B.M. and this short history, which is lavishly illustrated, will give readers a succinct survey of the creation and development of the British Museum.