The one of the most famous places of interest in Misty Albion is the British Museum. This institution is one of the largest in the world. As it is the case with the majority of English museums, it appeared spontaneously on the basis of three private collections of the respectable citizens of this country.
From the very beginning, the characteristic feature of the museum was the wide variety of exhibits. Ethnographic and archaeological rarities neighbored the natural sciences items, paintings, ancient manuscripts and books. The date of the foundation of the British Museum is 1753 when one of its founders, the British naturalist Hans Sloane left his collection by will to the nation. The foundation of the Museum was approved by the special act of the British Parliament. By the time of the official startup in 1759 the collection was replenished with the exhibits of the royal library.
The unquestionable pearls of the collection of this famous museum are the ancient sculptures called the marbles of Parthenon (and sometimes marbles of Elgin, after the name of the earl who exported all these priceless masterpieces from Greece). The founders' names are still unknown in spite of the whole uniqueness and greatness of creations. Some people guess that the frieze and the statue of Parthenon were made by famous Greek sculptor Phidias who led the construction of Acropolis.
More than once Greece tried to get the marbles of Parthenon back. England, in turn, does not show any signs of hurrying with returning the ancient treasures. Each of the sides has its own opinion on this: Greeks treat the export of the antiquities as the theft while the position of the British museum workers is that this step was necessary in order to save the sculptures from demolition. Both of them are right in some manner. Earl Elgin had the permission of the Turkish government to export a couple of "marble stones" and used it in quite original way. By the time of transfer of the exhibits under the jurisdiction of the British museum the Parthenon has been ruining and being plundered by local inhabitants for more than a century.
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