This vast, free museum has nine permanent exhibitions and numerous exhibitions which change regularly, so that the collections in storage can be viewed (temporary exhibitions sometimes incur an entrance fee). The main feature is the galleries which document the history of London, right back to 450,000BC. Archaeological artefacts, paintings, contemporary accounts, donated objects and photographs, all piece together London's history.
The oldest skeleton ever found in London can be seen (dating from around 3,500BC), and bronze artefacts placed in the Thames to appease the water gods. These are located in the first room, which explains that before there was a city, very few people lived in the area – only enough to fill a double decker bus!
Various themed rooms then take the story on through the founding of the city of Londinium, by the Romans. Reconstructed rooms show many of the Roman artefacts discovered in London, such as mosaics, parts of a temple, utensils and everyday objects. The rooms show visitors how the Romans in Britain lived and spent their leisure time. The Medieval room houses many items of fashion from around the 1300s. Items from the 1600-1850 displays include an actual 18th century prison cell complete with graffiti and an exquisite and elaborate 18th century dress. Visitors are taken through to the present day, with a look at popular culture over the past few decades. Children are provided with quiz sheets and there are family and craft activities scheduled during school holidays.