11 British Museum and other London museum facts

13th November 2014

The British Museum, LondonAt thinking bob we regularly explore the museums and galleries around the city, this week we’re heading to the British Museum for our latest cultural hunt and social.

So get your brain in gear with 11 facts about London’s museums….

British Museum and other London museum facts

  1. In 1857 the V&A had to make a fig leaf to protect the modesty of its full-size Michelangelo’s ‘David’ plaster cast, because Queen Victoria was said to be so shocked by its nudity on her first visit.
  2. The statue on top of the central tower of the V&A’s nose is missing.
  3. The Tower of London housed a royal menagerie for 600 years, featuring lions, an elephant, tigers, kangaroos, ostriches and a polar bear which would hunt for fish in the Thames on a lead.
  4. The British Museum collection contains at least 8 million objects, but only about 80,000 are on public display at any one time.
  5. The  infamous Diplodocus skeleton cast that stands in the Central Hall of the Natural History Museum is 108 years old. Unveiled in 1905, it was the first full skeleton of a sauropod dinosaur to go on display in the world.
  6. The Tower of London ravens all have a wing clipped to ensure they can’t escape, however one of them did make it to a pub in east London in 1981.
  7. The Natural History Museum collection houses around 55 million animals, 9 million fossils and 6 million plant specimens, including material from the dodo, meteorites from Mars and a full-size blue whale skeleton.
  8. This Victorian wardrobe, currently on display at the V&A, was once owned by Mick Jagger.
  9. 6 of the top ten tourist attractions charging admission in England are in London.
  10. Sir Roy Strong once referred to the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum as ‘an extremely capacious handbag’.
  11. The Science Museum was originally part of the South Kensington Museum, which was then changed to the V&A, until 1909. The iron buildings were so ugly that they were named the ‘Brompton Boilers’.

Explore London’s museums in a unique way…

Hi! We’re thinking bob, a London socials club helping over 5,000 Londoners to meet new friends, explore the city and give their brain a workout at the same time.

Every month we organise 30-40 events across the city – from museum treasure hunts to murder mysteries and pub quizzes (with real buzzers!) to debate evenings.

Your first month membership is just £1 and you can cancel any time, so come and give us a try.

London Museum facts: sources

Image from Wikipedia Commons 

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