An unexpected treasure at the British Museum

The British Museum in London is the first national public museum in the world. It was founded in 1753 and tells the story of human civilization from its earliest days right up to the present. With over 8 million objects in its collection and tens of thousands on display at any one time, it is both massive and daunting, humbling and inspiring. It is also free. From the very beginning, the Museums' founders granted free admission to "studious and curious persons." In 2018, I was one of them.

While, I had too little time for so many treasures, I counted down the top ten listed in the tour book: The Rosetta Stone, The Portland Vase, The Cat Mummies, The Elgin Marbles and other wonders, like the Colossal Granite Head of Amenhotep III, an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled between 1390 and 1325 BC, and the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial Helmet thought to belong to a 7th century king.

True to its slogan, this is a Museum of the World for the World. But it started with one man: physician, naturalist and collector, Sir Hans Sloane. To preserve the 71,000 objects he collected and prized during his lifetime, he bequeathed it all to King George II for the nation to enjoy from then on.

To date, more than 350 million people have visited the British Museum. And, thousands have worked to procure and preserve its mighty treasures. As I walked from wing to wing, I couldn't help noticing the plaques acknowledging the many generous donors who had given millions of dollars or entire collections to the Museum over time. However, I also noticed the small collection boxes. On each one, a small sign suggested a $5 donation to enter the exhibit. It made me realize that even a place with all this history and splendor relied on many small donations to continue to run. Just like the Phil.

Everyone has a part to play in this orchestra. Just like the British Museum, we count on thousands of people to keep the Phil operating every day. Our funding comes from a variety of sources, including ticket sales, grants, sponsorships...and donations, big and small. Every gift matters. Every gift helps us bring beautiful music into our community this season and the seasons to come. One man started the British Museum, and one person - you - can make a difference for the Phil.

Whether you can give $1,000, $100 or $10, every donation makes a difference. And right now, during our matching gift challenge, your donation goes twice as far. For every dollar you give, an anonymous donor will match it.

Please help today by making your gift. We simply cannot do it without you.

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