British Museum progresses £135 million expansion

Britain’s biggest visitor attraction, the British Museum, is involved in a £135 million expansion.

The museum’s attractions, which are already laid out on a grand scale, are set to become even larger with the extension that is being added to London’s iconic institution. An additional 18,000 square metres of exhibition space will be available at the Museum’s northwest corner with the opening of the World Conservation and Exhibition Centre. The development will see the creation of nine new floors, some above and some below street level. The ground floor area alone will cover 1,100 square metres, substantially improving the museum’s prospects of staging major events.

Among the installations that will find space in the expanded halls is a 35-metre Viking longboat, the largest ever discovered. Commenting in the Independent newspaper on its potential inclusion in the expanded facility, the museum’s head of exhibitions, Carolyn Marsden-Smith, said, ‘We have wanted to do it for some time, but we could not have done it in the spaces available before. It’s the one we’ve been waiting to put on.’

According to statistics, the British Museum’s grand development plans are well justified. Figures provided by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) proved that with 5,575,946 visitors in 2012, it was the most popular visitor attraction in the UK for the sixth consecutive year.

The museum, which is dedicated to human history and culture, has a permanent collection of around 8 million items, and following previous redevelopment on the site in 2000, it can already boast that it has the largest covered floor space in Europe.