|Activity||The Natural History Museum originated in the collection of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), physician, who amassed a collection of specimens and library material. In his will he instructed Trustees to look after it and stipulated that it was not to be split up. From 1756 the Sloane collection was housed in Montague House, Bloomsbury, the first home of the British Museum. The collection was augmented by additions from private collectors, voyagers and explorer-scientists, including Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), President of the Royal Society, who accompanied Captain James Cook (1728-1779), circumnavigator, on the 'Endeavour'. Superintendent of the natural history department at the British Museum, Professor Richard Owen convinced the government of the need to open a new museum to house the natural history collection. Accordingly, a new museum building was completed in South Kensington in 1880. The museum was opened to the public in 1881 and in 1883 transfer of the collection was complete. Despite this physical separation, the collection was still under the aegis of the British Museum. |
The Natural History Museum was established by the British Museum Act 1963 (c.24) as museum in its own right with its own Board of Trustees, under the designation the Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). Under the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 (c.44), the trustees' designation was changed to the Trustees of the Natural History Museum.