Day Tour

Expert-led Tour of the British Museum (3 Hours)

Context Travel

London, United Kingdom

Valid for Travel Now Through: 01 Mar 2019

Expert-led Tour of the British Museum (3 Hours )

London, United Kingdom

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing

Meals

None

Recommended Ages

12 and Above

Activity Level

Moderate • Wheelchair Accessible

Description

The Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Marble, and the Assyrian lion hunt are just some of the many art treasures we’ll cover in this three-hour, in-depth tour of the British Museum. Led by a trained archaeologist or historian, our critically acclaimed British Museum walk visits this fantastic collection, taking into account how the British Museum came into existence in the mid-eighteenth century during the period of Enlightenment. By limiting our group size, we’re able to take a deeper approach to the collections and conduct the visit like a true walking seminar.

We begin with the Enlightenment gallery, formerly known as the King’s Library; this room was the first part of the new museum building as it is seen today. Although each walk evolves differently depending on our docent's area of expertise and the interests of the group, we generally start with a thorough overview of how the British Museum came into existence in the mid-eighteenth century. We'll talk about how archaeology evolved from the work of antiquaries. Discussing how art history was born with the study of ancient Greek sculpture and vase painting and how Greek art set the standard for the next 200 years of what was considered the model of fully-evolved art.

From here we will traverse the halls of the museum, visiting its most important rooms. This includes the Egyptian collection. Here, we will discuss how ancient texts came to be deciphered in the first place and we will compare the ways in which hieroglyphs and cuneiform, the two earliest scripts, were cracked.

We will also look at several of the antiquities and languages of ancient Iraq and Iran, as material from these areas forms some of the earliest collections in the British Museum. Large-scale excavation in the ancient Middle East and the race to decipher hieroglyphic and cuneiform scripts were inspired by the finds from Mesopotamia and Persia. The beginnings of the British Museum are inextricably tied to the European re-discovery of these ancient cultures.

Our discussion will be illustrated by the Rosetta Stone, which now lives in the British Museum, along with nearly 130,000 pieces of cuneiform tablets from ancient Iraq, some of which are on display. Depending on the interests of your docent and the group, we may then spend time looking more in-depth at the art of ancient Iran and/or of ancient Iraq in its earlier phases. From there we'll take in the palace reliefs of ancient Assyrian kings that form the best collection of ancient Iraqi sculpture outside Baghdad. Or, we'll spend the rest of our time looking at the Parthenon Marbles, which will bring us back to the beginning of our discussions of what the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European viewer perceived as the highest art form.

About Us

The Context vision is to create an atmosphere—a context, if you will—for curious travelers to engage with local experts; to give them access to places and cultures that might otherwise remain out of sight to the casual visitor; to invite them off the tourist track and into the real life of the people, history, and heritage that make these cultural capitals amazing. With no more than six people, you'll participate in an intimate, hands-on, conversational experience. No Tour Guides - Our docents are first and foremost scholars or specialists, with MAs, Ph.D.s, or other terminal degrees in their fields of study.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our docent, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the docent. No shows are treated as last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within three business days need to be made by phone to the emergency number provided in your confirmation email. Cancellations within three business days made via email or by calling our U.S. 800 number may not be honored. Other terms and conditions may apply.



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Italy trip

By: Joe C


Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2018

Without question they did a superb job.

"The Great European Tour"

By: MJ


Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2018

The trip was our first experience with Context and it was amazing!
Travel Advisor:  Donna Peacock