British Museum opened in 1759. The original museum was based on the 37,000-piece collection of Sir Hans Sloane, a scientist and physician. The museum grew quickly as Great Britain entered its colonial period. Today the museum’s collection exceeds eight million objects, and over six million visitors enter its doors each year. Some of its acquisitions, for example the Rosetta Stone, have caused controversy. Children can visit the museum website at: British Museum.
Rosetta Stone was found in 1799. Great Britain and France were at war, and one of their battle locations was in Egypt. The French found the stone when they were trying to improve their fortifications. The French lost the battle, and the British confiscated the Rosetta Stone. A pharaoh’s proclamation is written in three different languages on the stone. Jean Francois Champollion deciphered the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic text by working back through the other two languages. The British Museum now houses the Rosetta Stone. Children can learn more at: Rosetta Stone.
Jean-Francois Champollion declared in 1822 that he had deciphered the Rosetta Stone. The monument contained the same speech in three languages. He was able to translate the speech in two of the languages, and he used patterns and syntax to decode the Egyptian hieroglyphics, the third language. The Rosetta Stone is housed in the British Museum. Children could learn about the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian hieroglyphics at: Rosetta Stone.