Welcome to Two Way Street, an independent explorer for The British Museum collection.

We’ve ingested 1,953,198 of about 2.2 million records.

Acquisitions by Decade, since 1753

We've made a chart to show acquisitions over time, which you'll see sprinkled across the site. Each square represents a decade, and the darkness of the square tells you about how many things were acquired in that decade. A black square means lots of things were acquired in that decade.

The chart below is showing all acquisitions by decade since the institution opened. Each square links to a view of that decade.

An example:
Most of the things acquired from the museum's founding donor, Hans Sloane, were gathered in 1753, the year the museum opened.

Underneath the chart, we're showing a top three list of who the acquisitions have come from. This can be an individual person or an institution.

An example:
Edith Godman helped build the "flower" collection, in the 1980s.

Acquired From   more

Acquired In   more

43,897 things
31,710 things
30,783 things
28,643 things

Type of Thing   more

422,540 things
240,740 things
139,271 things
117,933 things

Made Of   more

394,760 things
241,094 things
201,975 things
146,957 things

Made In   more

25,586 things
15,210 things
14,617 things
9,207 things

Subject   more

85,487 things
53,586 things
44,395 things
42,895 things

Techniques   more

116,453 things
82,203 things
60,271 things
59,673 things

School   more

132,455 things
43,761 things
31,252 things
22,183 things