How to see the British Museum in four visits

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    How to see the British Museum in four visits

    The money to found a British Museum was raised by a lottery in the middle of the last century. Sir Hans Sloane having offered his books and museum of natural history to Parliament, for less than half its value (20,000 Pds. .), it was purchased, together with the famous Harleian and Cottonian MSS., and deposited in Montague House, Bloomsbury, which had been bought of the Earl of Halifax, for the sum of 10,250 Pds. . Of the present British Museum this beginning forms a very insignificant part. The nucleus was established however; and soon eminent men, who valued their literary and scientific collections as storehouses that should be accessible to all classes of students, began to turn their attention to the collections in Montague House. Foremost among the donors George the Second should be mentioned, as having made over to the nation the royal library, together with the right of demanding a copy of every book entered at Stationers' Hall. Successively, the libraries of Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Birch, Sir John Hawkins, Dr. Burney and Garrick, and the Royal, Arundel, Lansdowne, Bridgewater, and other MSS. were added to the great store. Captain Cook returned home with additions to the museum of natural history; [...]§A guide to London's most famous museum. Originally published in 1852.
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