Is the British Museum the greatest museum on earth?





In an age when it can feel as if trash is about to breach the levees and flood the entire cultural landscape, two announcements have offered evidence of the surprising healthiness of the nation's appetite for the highbrow.

The first was that the British Museum has overtaken Blackpool Pleasure Beach to become Britain's most popular cultural attraction. In the past year 6.04 million visitors crossed the threshold, trumping Blackpool on 5.5 million and Tate Modern with 5.23 million.

The second piece of news was even more important for staff at the museum and those who care about its fortunes. Neil MacGregor, the director and the man who has overseen the transformation of its fortunes, confirmed that he would not be leaving to head the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York...



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