By Jove! What a collection!
On this day in 1759, the British Museum opened to the public in the Bloomsbury district of London. The original collection was donated by a doctor, Sir Hans Sloane who had amassed what he called "a cabinet of curiosities." The collection included thousands of books, manuscripts, items from the nature and art objects from around the world. The round, domed Reading Room was built over a hundred years later and could hold one million volumes. Until recently, only those who presented an almost exhaustive life history as well as references could use the collection. Some lucky users included Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Gandhi and George Orwell. Lenin was initially denied access because of difficulty locating a reference. The museum has created digital records of items in their collection which can be accessed on their website. The Library also owns many books that contain objects that belong to their collections.