Tour the museum’s Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone here.
The museum already has a strong internet presence and 3m objects in the collection are already available to see online. But they mostly have an academic audience and it does not have the reach of the new partnership, said Chris Michaels, the museum’s digital head.
So far, there are 4,859 objects available to look at in detail online. They include one of the museum’s most important Chinese scrolls – 4th-century Admonitions scroll, which is only ever available to view for a few months of the year because it is so fragile. It is available to see in particular zoom detail after Google spent three days photographing it.
The indoor Street View footage meanwhile took 15 months to film because it had to be done out of normal visiting hours. “It is a huge organisational process for a place as big as this,” said Michaels.
The museum joins around 800 other cultural institutions that are already part of the Google project.
The scale of the British Museum project is striking. It is the largest space ever captured on the indoor Street View, and there are various addons, such as specially curated virtual exhibitions – Celtic Life in Iron Age Britain, for example – and a Museum of the World microsite linking objects on a timeline.
The British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history and culture. Over 6 million visitors every year experience the collection, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.