• Our Mission

Our Mission

American Friends of the British Museum (AFBM) was established in 1989 as a not-for-profit organization whose principal purpose is to raise awareness and financial support for the British Museum in the U.S. Founded in 1753, the Museum holds in trust for the world a collection of art and antiquities from ancient and living cultures. Founded by an Act of Parliament, the British Museum was the first museum to belong to a nation rather than a monarch or private patron. From the beginning, its collections were available to every citizen, to all "studious and curious" people regardless of rank or status, free of charge.

Since its founding, the British Museum has seen itself as a world museum, at first through its far-reaching collections amassed during the Age of Enlightenment and more recently by reflecting a global heritage to its increasing number of international visitors. More than five million people visit it every year, including nearly one million Americans, making it one of the most popular museums in the world.

Since its founding, American Friends of the British Museum has contributed over $30 million to support a variety of projects at the British Museum, including:

  • The Queen Elizabeth II Great Court
  • Special exhibitions
  • Scholarly symposia
  • Acquisitions
  • Staff positions in the curatorial and education departments



Aztec/Mixtec mask

Aztec/Mixtec, from Mexico. Thought to represent the god-king Quetzalcoatl or the sun god Tonatiuh. 15th-16th century AD.