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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : British Museum : Great Court

Today we arrive at British Museum Great Court, for our weekly Museum Guide excursion, led by Divvya Nirula.

The Great Court was designed by Foster & Partners and is said to be the largest public square in all of Europe. Presented here are our top three must-see objects on view here. Next time you visit the museum, do not miss these!

1. Haida Totem pole, circa 1850, by Unknown
2. Marble statue of a youth on horseback, AD 1-50, by Unknown
3. Hoa Hakananai’a, circa 1000-1200, by Unknown

Image credit for artworks : British Museum

Some fun facts about the Museum :

  • The Queen Elizabeth II Great Court is at the heart of the British Museum. It is through here that visitors can access the Museum’s famous Reading Room.
  • The space was originally designed by Robert Smirke. From 1852 to 1997, the Museum’s library department was set up in this space.
  • Near the turn of the millennium, the Museum announced a competition for redesigning the Great Court. This is when the current design was executed by Foster & Partners. The project cost a whopping 100 million GBP.
  • The roof is made from 3,212 panes of heterogeneously-shaped glass, held together with steel.
  • The space was inaugurated in December 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II herself.
  • The Court features a few sculptures and relics for visitors to enjoy, whilst they stroll around.

A Final Thought :

In 1997, the British Museum’s library department found permanent home at a new building in St Pancras. Known as the British Library, this is now separate from the Museum. With the redesigning of the Great Court in 2000, a range of new galleries and exhibition spaces were also created, including the Sainsbury Galleries and the Wellcome Trust Gallery.


Visit Art From Us Archive for Museum Guide collated by Divvya Nirula. Here you shall find more suggestions on where you should visit next. And what you should see there. 

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