British Museum
The British Museum was founded in 1753 and opened its doors in 1759. It was the first national museum to cover all fields of human knowledge. Through an act of Parliament, the museum became the world's first free, national, public museum.1
In the 1830s, the regulations of the museum were changed in order to extend the opening hours and time guests could spend inside the museum. The collection of the museum is extensive and continued to grow throughout the centuries.2 Sir Hans Sloane aided in amassing a large collection of 80,000 natural and artificial rarities, as well as over 40,000 books and manuscripts. The museum's collections were initially housed in Montagu House, a seventeenth century mansion. As the collection grew, new galleries were added to the original house.3 The collection continued to grow and could no longer fit in the original building. Montagu House was demolished in 1823 and the collections moved to the building that it is still in today.4
In the twenty-first century, there has been increasing controversy with the museum as many of its housed artifacts are stolen. In 1897, British troops stole approximately 4,000 sculptures from the Kingdom of Benin, now southwestern Nigeria.5 As a protest, a theatre group in Britain organized a “Stolen Goods Tour” in which they highlight stolen artifacts, such as the Gwaegal Shield which was stolen from Aboriginal Australians by the British in the eighteenth century. Other stolen artifacts housed in the British Museum include: Egypt's Rosetta Stone, Easter Island's Moai head statue, Greece's Parthenon marbles (“Elgin marbles”), and others.6 As of 2018, the British Museum stated that it has no plans to repatriate the stolen artifacts.7
Mentions of this organization in the documents