Plans are afoot for a radical £1 billion overhaul of the British Museum in London, the Daily Mail reports. The 170-year-old museum is one of Britain’s leading cultural institutions, attracting about 6 million visitors per year, until the onset of the pandemic. However, the historic Bloomsbury building is said to be in need of extensive modernisation.
The former government Chancellor and new chair of the museum, George Osbourne, is expecting to raise the funds from a combination of government grants and private donations, the Financial Times reports.
An unnamed source told the publication: “The whole museum needs an enormous refurbishment. The roof is falling apart, the mechanical system is falling apart. The galleries are not properly heated, and that’s before you get on to the sustainability aspect.”
They added: “The first priority is the mechanical system, the energy supply. The current system is so old it could be dragged out as an antiquity and placed in the museum.”
The content of the museum will also be brought under a new focus, as part of a concept referred to as the “Rosetta Project.” It will redress the bias towards European history, and feature more artifacts from Africa and South America.
The British Museum houses one of the largest permanent collections in the world, with an estimated eight million pieces. It currently features an exhibition dedicated to ancient Peru, offering an insight into the indigenous culture before the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century.
The display features videos and large-scale photographs of important sites such as the Nasca geoglyphs and Machu Picchu, to recreate an atmospheric sense of time and place. Visitors can also view pottery, precious metals, and textiles to gain an appreciation of the culture of the ancient Andean people.
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