The new Conflict & Conservation tour is available exclusively to guests of The Montague on the Gardens-

22 May 2024: A new tour revealing details of how The British Museum conserved its priceless collection during World War II is launching this week, in exclusive partnership with the Montague on the Gardens Hotel in Bloomsbury.

Conflict and Conservation gives visitors private access to The British Museum for a full hour before it opens to the public, enjoying the famous galleries without the crowds and passing through back-of-house areas and secret passages known only to museum staff.

An expert Blue Badge Guide will share stories of how the Museum’s precious contents were evacuated to various secure locations in August 1939, as the Second World War loomed some 85 years ago. Guests will explore some of the Museum’s most beloved areas with a new narrative, witnessing the enduring scars on various parts of the building, including the Enlightenment Gallery and the museum’s façade. Guests will also hear about how the museum mitigated against bombs, chemical attacks, fire and looting, as the guide reveals the protagonists, strategies and good fortune involved in the successful preservation of the vast majority of the Museum’s eight million-strong collection of artefacts.

It is the first time this theme has been specifically explored in a tour of the British Museum, and it has been carefully and exclusively curated for guests of the Montague on the Gardens, a boutique townhouse hotel that overlooks the East Wing of the Museum on one side, and the Duke of Bedfordshire’s estate and gardens on the other.

Dirk Crokaert, General Manager of the Montague on the Gardens, said: “From bombs to hidden basements, this is a truly fascinating experience, offering privileged access and new insight into one of the world’s most iconic institutions at a pivotal moment in its history. We’re incredibly grateful to the British Museum for working with us to develop this tour exclusively for small groups, multi-gen families or individuals staying with us.”

Roderick Buchanan, Commercial Director at the British Museum said: “It’s fantastic to be able to add a new dimension to our long-term partnership with the Montague and to be able to share tales of the Museum’s heroic war-time efforts with their guests, who are invariably curious about culture, tradition and history.”

The guided experience lasts for three hours, starting at 8.30am with breakfast and an introduction to the Museum’s building and history. The private access and World War II element of the tour takes place between 9 and 10am, after which the guide is at the disposal of guests for a further 1.5 hours to add context to the Museum’s wider treasures.

Rooms at the Montague on the Gardens start from £276 including breakfast, and the tour costs £950 for up to 12 guests.

For more information and to book: Conflict and Conservation Tour At The British Museum (montaguehotel.com)