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What makes for a incomparable museum?
One’s first perception is that of its collections and holdings. Do they spam the entire range of man’s reign on this planet, from his prehistoric beginnings to the modern era? Are they complete and ranging from Ancient Egypt to Renaissance Europe and even later?
In my sixty years of more of walking on this earth, I have repeatedly experienced to genuine pleasure of visiting two such museums, The British Museum in London and Musée du Louvre in Paris.
Which is the better, you ask? That’s much like asking which is the superior drink, well-aged scotch whiskey or Napoleon brandy? It all depends upon who is going the drinking.
The British Museum opened its doors in 1753, when noted physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane donated his entire collections to the British public.
Musée du Louvre came some forty years later in 1793 when Parisians celebrated the tenth anniversary of the dissolution of the Bourbon Dynasty. Its collections were limited to a little more than five-hundred paintings and bout one-hundred and eighty other works of art. Some originated from the holdings of the Bourbons, the rest taken from seized property.
Should you ask which I consider the better of the two, then my reply would be, “Define better?”
In terms of holdings of ancient artifacts, the British Museum is clearly in the lead. In terns of great masterpieces of art, Musée du Louvre surpasses the latter hands down. In fact, the British Museum has no paintings at all, save a vast holding of drawings.
Therefore, let the reader make his or her own decision.
The photographic content of this publication is derived from a variety of sources. Some originate from the author, some are stock photographs and slides purchased from the museums themselves and others are reproduced with the permissions of the photographers themselves, and are particularly from the courtesy of Ms. Marie-Lan Nguyen, Mr. Einsamer Schütze, Mr. Andrew Dunn and the Wikipedia Commons.