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Text 2. The British Museum

The National Gallery is one of the most popular attractions in the capital for tourists and Londoners alike, as is the world-famous British Museum. With its Grecian-style façade, the British Museum is a temple to the arts and achievements of the world’s civilizations. Antiquities from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, treasures from the Stone and Bronze Ages, ancient art from the Americas to Asia – the richness and variety of the museum’s collections are unrivalled. The museum was founded in 1753 and was first housed in Montagu House in Bloomsbury. This was later replaced by the present building, which was financed by a lottery.

Inside, there are thousands of amazing items on display, including the Sutton Hoo treasure. This formed the contents of a seventh-century royal ship-burial excavated in Suffolk in eastern England in 1939 and is one of the richest of its kind ever to be found in Europe. It was thought to be the resting place of King Redwald of the East Angels tribe.

Until recently the museum was also home to the world-renowned British Library. The famous round reading Room, with its magnificent dome, has been restored and now forms the centerpiece of the new Great Court; a vast atrium links the museum’s collections.

When the world’s oldest museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford, opened its doors to the public on 24 May 1683, even the use of the term ‘museum’ was a novelty in English. The museum’s original collection was presented to the University of Oxford by Elias Ashmole (1617 – 1692). It contained man-made and natural specimens from every corner of the known world and was already some 50 years old by this time, having been founded by John Tradescant the elder who used to display the collection at his house in Lambeth, London. Today the Ashmolean’s collections range from antiquities to Western and Eastern art.

1. Answer the following questions:

1. Where is the British museum?

2. When was it founded?

3. When was the British museum housed first?

4. How was the building of British museum erected?

5. What amazing items are in the British museum?

6. Is the British museum the oldest museum of Great Britain?

2. Choose the correct answer.

1. The National Gallery is popular among:

a. visitors c. tourists

b. Londoners d. Londoners and tourists

2. The British Museum is a temple to the arts and achievements of the world’s civilizations and has:

a. Grecian - style façade c. Roman – style façade

b. Egyptian – style façade d. Byzantine – style façade

3. The British museum in its collection has:

a. monuments and treasures c. antiquities and old books

b. golden vases and silver statues d. antiquities, treasures and ancient


4. There is ____________ in the British museum too.

a. cinema c. exhibition center

b. British museum d. shop center

5. The museum’s original collection which was presented to the University of Oxford consisted only of:

a. man-made and natural specimens c. man-made specimens

b. wooden specimens d. natural and human-made


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