British Empire and Commonwealth Museum

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British Empire and Commonwealth Museum
The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum ( grid reference ST597725) was a museum in Bristol, United Kingdom exploring the history of the British Empire and the effect of British colonial rule on the rest of the world. The museum opened in 2002 in Bristol's historic old railway station, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is the world's earliest surviving railway terminus, which was completed in 1840 and includes the passenger shed and the adjoining former engine and carriage shed. It is over 220 ft long (67 m) with timber and iron roof spans of 72 ft (22 m), this Grade I listed building has been nominated as a World Heritage Site. The museum had a flourishing publications department, producing books on aspects of colonial life such as the history of the Northern Rhodesia Police, and a register of titles of the regiments of the Honourable East India Company and East Indian Armies. The museum also held the collection of artefacts of the Commonwealth Institute; extensive still photograph, paper, film and oral history archives, and a costume collection. The museum was also the home of the New World Tapestry. On 23 November 2007 the museum announced it would be moving its core operations to London in 2008. However, after closing in 2008 the move did not take place as planned and it has been announced that the planned move to London will not be completed until 2012 or later. The displays and archives are not available to the public during this period.

Admissions information
Unlike many national museums in Britain, the BECM is not publicly-funded, but is owned and operated by a charitable trust; consequently an admission charge was made. The museum closed to the public in the autumn of 2008 and for school visits at the end of March 2009.