Top 10 Museums
Top 10 Museums in London
The museums in London richly display art, culture and history from across the world and across the ages. Many visitors are impressed by the number and diversity of museums in London, many of which do not charge an admission fee. The museums listed in our Top 10 are some of the finest in the world:-
Opened in 1759, this is one of the oldest museums in the world. Its collection is vast and just a fraction of this collection can be placed on public display at any given time as it comprises more than a million items. Visitors are particularly fond of the mummies’ section and various other points of interest such as the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, the Lewis Chessmen, the Lindow Man and Rosetta Stone from Ancient Egypt. The museum is considered a busy home of cultural treasures and ancient discoveries from across the ages. Its first exhibits were a collection of more than 71,000 objects bequeathed to the nation by Sir Hans Sloane, a physician by trade, a naturalist, and a collector of objects from around the world. These included medals, ancient coins, natural remains and books. The museum is also famous for the Parthenon sculpture from Acropolis in Athens. With over six million visitors in a year, British Museum is one of the most popular attractions in the world.
This wax museum was established by the famous French wax sculptor, Madame Tussaud who moved to London in 1802. It is a very popular tourist attraction in London because of its display of waxworks of famous and notorious people. The first wax sculpture created by Madame Tussaud was that of Voltaire in 1777. Other famous models found here are Benjamin Franklin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. She modeled various prominent victims during the French Revolution period. One of the major attractions of her museum is the Chamber of Horrors, an exhibition of waxworks of notorious murderers and other infamous historical figures.. The wax figures displayed today include royal and historical figures and film celebrities, sports personalities and famous serial killers.
Natural History Museum
Located in the Alfred Waterhouse building, the Natural History Museum has a collection of more than seventy million plants, fossils, rock and mineral specimens. The museum also comprises of over twenty million specimens of plants and insects in its new Darwin Centre. These specimens take up nearly seventeen miles of shelves. It opened in the Romanesque Palazzo in 1881 on Cromwell Road and is regarded as a research institution. Its Life Galleries are dedicated to exhibiting animal life from a plaster cast of Diplodocus to various creepy crawlies. The Diplodocus skeleton takes up the entire length of the huge entrance hall. The museum is also famous for its Blue Zone where people line up to view the animatronics, particularly dinosaurs, including the popular T-Rex display. In the biology section, there is a display of a man-sized and illuminated model of a foetus in the womb.
Museum of London
This is a charitable and an award-winning institution that is funded by various individuals and organisations. This museum inspires passion for learning about this marvellous city and helps visitors understand the story of London. London Museum covers the first settlers and tells the history right up to modern times. It started with a small Roman mosaic item and has since then, grown into a huge social and urban history centre. It is situated on London Wall and is near to the Barbican Centre. It makes up a part of the Barbican complex of buildings that were built in the nineteen seventies as an approach towards remodelling of the bomb-damaged sections of London.
Victoria and Albert Museum
This museum has one of the largest collections of decorative arts in the world. These collections cover varied fields like sculpture, photography, ceramics and portrait miniatures. Among its highlights are the famous British Galleries from 1500 AD to 1900 AD. These galleries are arranged in a chronological manner for visitors to trace the British design history, from the period of Henry VIII to the age of Queen Victoria. The foundation stone for this marvellous museum was laid by Queen Victoria during her last public and official engagement in 1899. There are over one hundred and fifty galleries on seven floors, containing valuable furniture pieces, ceramics, posters, metalwork, painting, sculpture, jewellery, dress items, textiles and glass, spanning many centuries.
Sherlock Holmes Museum
Opened in 1990, this museum allows visitors to step back in time and experience the most famous address in the world – 221B Baker Street. The famous study on the first floor that overlooks this street has been maintained exactly as it was described by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and in the same manner as it was kept during the Victorian Times. This is a museum that is managed privately in London and it is dedicated to the fictional albeit famous detective of all time, Sherlock Holmes. It is housed in a Georgian town house that was run as a boarding house between 1860 and 1936. The museum covers the twenty year period between 1881 and 1900 when Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were reported resident tenants of Mrs. Hudson. It is operated by a non-profit organisation, the Sherlock Holmes Society of England.
Occupying seven floors of entertaining and highly educational exhibits, this museum features the Command Module of Apollo 10 and a flight simulator. One wing is dedicated entirely to contemporary scientific developments, technology and medicine. The gallery involving medical history is in the attic and it contains a significant collection of treasures connected with medical history. There is a Pattern Pod in the museum, which introduces the importance of patterns in modern science. The Launch Pad is a hands-on gallery which has become very popular. Children can explore elementary scientific principles. The gallery involving Exploring Space includes an exhibit that is nine feet tall. It is the Spacelab 2 X-Ray telescope, weighing six hundred kilograms. This was flown on various British space missions. There are models present in the museum of the Beagle 2 Mars Lander and Huygens Titan Probe. The in-house IMAX cinema presents scientific films in 3D and visitors can experience virtual reality in space or in the submerged ocean depths through this cinema.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
This is a historic museum and a library that contains works of the famous nineteenth century architect, Sir John Soane. His house was left untouched after his demise about one hundred and eighty years ago. Designed by Soane himself, it is filled with an extraordinary collection of sculptures, artefacts, famous artworks and furniture items. It also holds many models and drawings of Sir Soane’s projects and a collection of antiquities that he had assembled. The museum is located in the Holborn area of central London.
National Maritime Museum
Established by Charles II in 1675, this museum is located on Greenwich Park site, near the Royal Observatory and the Queen’s House. Its Maritime London gallery is a permanent exhibition and it explores the significance of the heritage of London’s maritime scene and the impact it has on the world trade. The exhibits here include wreckage from a Zeppelin that was shot down over the estuary of River Thames in 1916. It also contains the original model for Nelson’s Column. The National Maritime Museum is the largest maritime museum in the world with ten galleries and a collection that covers maps, artworks, memorabilia and charts.
This is popularly known as the Museum of the Home. It explores the home styles in London and the way people live in these homes. Its collections reveal how London’s homes have been furnished over the past four centuries. This reflects on the changes that have taken place in the urban society in London along with the styles, tastes and fashion trends. The period rooms are complemented by a sequence of walled herb gardens that bring out the importance of a backyard or a plot in home life, and how gardens have changed over a period of time.