British Museum reopens Reading Room

Wednesday, July 3, 2024
British Museum reopens Reading Room

The British Museum reopened its Reading Room for general visitors on 1 July. British Museum chair George Osborne made a commitment to reopen the Reading Room, which had been closed since 2013, in November 2022.

The Reading Room, which first opened in 1854 and currently houses the museum's archive, was restored as part of the £100m Great Court redevelopment. When the project was completed in 2000, the Reading Room was made available to all museum visitors for the first time.

At the time, it housed an information centre, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Centre, and a collection of 25,000 books, catalogues and other printed material that focused on the world cultures represented in the museum. Most of the books that were in the library were moved to the British Library's purpose-built building in St Pancras in 1997.

From 2007, the Reading Room was used for special exhibitions. The first exhibition held there was The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army (13 September 2007–6 April 2008).

The Reading Room was no longer needed as an exhibition space when the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre was opened at the museum in 2014.

The Reading Room was designed by British architect Sydney Smirke (1798–1877). The space, which was constructed from cast iron, concrete and glass, has a diameter of 42.6m and was inspired by the domed Pantheon in Rome.

Main Image :Reading Room, British Museum, London

Stephanie Cime

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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