A young visitor in Room 2 beside the the Knucklebone player sculpture

Room 2

Collecting the world?

亿博体育apping the gallery

Opening times

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Advance booking only

Gallery audio guides

Available to purchase on and .

The Collecting the world gallery celebrates the collectors who help to shape the 亿博体育app.

Founded in 1753, the British 亿博体育app opened its doors to visitors in 1759. The 亿博体育app tells the story of human cultural achievement through a collection of collections. This room celebrates some of the collectors who, in different ways, have shaped the 亿博体育app over four centuries, along with individuals and organisations who continue to shape its future.

The adjoining galleries also explore aspects of collecting. Room 1: Enlightenment, tells the story of how, in the early 亿博体育app, objects and knowledge were gathered and classified. Room 2a: The Waddesdon Bequest displays the collection of Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces left to the British 亿博体育app by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild MP at his death in 1898.

Take a virtual tour

In , see Grayson Perry's Rosetta Vase, plus a diverse range of objects that showcase the contribution of influential collectors through the 亿博体育app's history.

The Rosetta Vase in Collecting the world gallery. ?2020 Google.

Gallery facts

The British 亿博体育app was founded in 1753 as a place of recreation 'for all studious and curious persons'.?

Opened to the public in 1759, like now, the 亿博体育app was free but to prevent overcrowding, early visitors had to apply in person to the Porter for a ticket, return another day to collect it, and then return at the appointed time for the visit itself.?

The founding collection belonged to the physician Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753). His collection included books, manuscripts and natural history specimens, as well as objects made by hand.?

Gallery facts

Originally a museum of natural history, books and manuscripts, art and archaeology, through the years the 亿博体育app has evolved into a collection of art and artefacts from the world's cultures.

The Collecting the world display opened in Autumn 2014. It features a few of the many individual collectors whose passion has shaped the collections of the 亿博体育app since its foundation. The gallery also features the individuals, support groups, organisations and international collaboration projects which continue to shape the 亿博体育app's future.

The Collecting the world gallery was previously the 亿博体育app's manuscript gallery prior to the departure of the British Library to its new building in St Pancras.?Some of the famous manuscripts on display during that time include the Magna Carta and the Lindisfarne Gospels. ?


  • A large print guide is available.?
  • Some objects in this collection feature on?the British Sign Language multimedia guide. This resource is temporarily unavailable during the 亿博体育app's phased reopening.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available on .
  • Seating is available.
  • Step-free access.?
  • View?sensory map.

亿博体育app?Accessibility?at the 亿博体育app?for more information.