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Museums & Galleries
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Britain museums and galleries attract more than 100 million visitors a year. Many of the museums and galleries are relatively new and take advantage of innovative display techniques and presentations methods that have attracted visiters in large numbers. Several of the larger and more established museums have completed award winning refurbishment programs. They include the British Museum in London, the Royal Museum of Scotland, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and the National Science Museum in London.

The main national collections are in London and contain some to the world's most comprehensive collections of artistic, archeological, scientific, historical and general interest. They are the British Museum (including the Museum of Mankind), the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Science Museum, The National Gallery, The Tate Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, the Imperial War Museum, the National Army Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Wallace Collection and the Geological Museum.

Some of the museums in London have branches in the regions. The National Railway Museum (York) and the National Museum of Photography Film & Television (Bradford) along with the Science Museum in London make up the National Museum of Science and Industry. The Victoria and Albert Museum also plans to open a branch in Bradford. The Tate Gallery opened a branch in Liverpool in 1988 and plans another in St. Ives, Cornwall.

The National Museums of Scotland include the Royal Museum of Scotland and the Scottish United Services Museum in Edinburgh: the Museum of Flight near North Berwick; the Scottich Agricultural Museum at Ingliston; and the Shambellie House Museum of Costume near Dumfries. National Galleries in Scotland include the National Gallery of Scotland; the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff has a branch at St. Fagan's Castle, housing the Welsh Folk Museum; an Industrial and Maritime Museum in Cardiff's dockland; the Museum of the Woollen Industry at Drefach Felindre; and the Slate Museum at Llanberis. Northern Ireland has two national museums, the Ulster Museum in Belfast and Transport Museum in County Down.

Collections attracting large annual attendances in London include the Royal Armouries in the Tower of London, the The Museum of London, Sir John Soane's Museum, the Coutrauld Collection and the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden. At Buckingham Palace, the Queen's Gallery has exhibitions of pictures from the extensive royal collections.

Most Britain's cities and towns have museums and galleries devoted to art, archaeology and natural history. They are administered locally, usually by a particular learned society or individual patrons or trustees. In Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum (founded in 1683 - making it the oldest in the world) and the Pitt Rivers Museum are two of several excellent museums; and there is the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The Burrell Collection in Glasgow houses world famous tapestries, paintings and other objets d'art. Many private collections in privately owned mansion houses, including those owned by the National Trusts, are open to the public. And there are an increasing number of open air museums which depict the regional life of an area or preserve early industrial remains. Skills of the past are revived in a number of living museums like the Gladstone Pottery Museum near Stoke-on-Trent and the Quarry Bank Mill at Styal in Cheshire.

Recently established museums include the National Horseracing Museum at Newmarket; the Jorvik Viking Centre in York; the Mary Rose Maritime Museum in Portsmouth, housing the preserved wreck of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship which sank in 1545 and was raised in 1982; Catalyst: the Museum of the Chemical Industry, at Widnes in Cheshire.

Most museums and galleries stage temporary exhibitions on particular themes and devote their premises to other artforms, including the occasional musical concerts. There are also a number of national art exhibiting societies, the most famous being the Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House which holds an annual Summer Exhibition showing the works of hundreds of professional and amateur painters and sculptures. Similarly, the Royal Scottish Academy holds annual exhibitions in Edinburgh.