Andrea/Cara, musing today on two of my favorite subjects: libraries and museums. And as it so happens, the British Museum in London—an amazingly wonderful institution that always makes my heart go pitty-pat—has a fascinating story in its history that combines the two!
It all begins with Sir Hans Sloane, who donated his vast collections of “interesting stuff” (a true cabinet of curiosities of 71,000 items—you can see one of the drawers below) to King George II and the country in return for £20,000, to be given to heirs. The items included books, coins, prints, drawing and ethnographic artifacts. By an act of parliament, the gift was accepted and established as the British Museum in 1753. It was the first national public museum in the world, and admission was free to “all studious and curious persons.”