A Night at the Museum

Fact vs fiction

We’re really excited that Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb was filmed in the British Museum; but not everything on screen is as it seems.

Here, we’ve revealed some secrets about the objects and galleries that you’ll see in the film...

Dinosaurs in the Museum

Sadly we don’t hold any dinosaur specimens as complete or impressive as the triceratops in the film.

There used to be lots of dinosaur skeletons here until the collections moved to form the Natural History Museum.

However, we do have some prehistoric animal specimens in the Enlightenment gallery. The Ichthyosaur skull is one of many fossils collected by the famous palaeontologist Mary Anning.

The Ichthyosaur skull is on long-term loan from the Natural History Museum

Kakiemon elephants in the Great Court

In the film, the Kakiemon elephants have grown to the size of real elephants; fortunately for us they’re only 35cm tall in real life!

Filming in here took an entire night, and the film makers spent many nights making 3D scans of objects from the collection. They then recoloured and resized these to make them stand out in the Great Court.

Ancient Egypt in the Museum

We don’t have Ankhmenrah’s tomb but we do have many sarcophagi in our Egyptian sculpture gallery.

There are over 120 human mummies (over 80 from Egypt and 40 from Sudan) and over 300 animal mummies in the Museum's collection. Mummies are one of the most characteristic aspects of ancient Egyptian culture. The preservation of the body was an essential part of the Egyptian funerary belief and practice.

We've been scanning some of our collection. View one of the Egyptian sarcophagi in 3D!



Unfortunately we don’t have a nine headed snake demon cast in bronze. The snake demon that appears in the film is a feature of Chinese mythology.

Xiangliu was a monster from the Chinese text Guideways through mountains and seas. It is said that his blood is so poisonous that when he was slain it seeped into the ground making the land unusable.

We may not have a Xiangliu but we do have many depictions of snakes serpents and dragons from all over the world and throughout history.

Find out more about the Museum's double headed serpent

Sir Lancelot and the Medieval Hallway

Sir Lancelot is an incredibly popular character from the middle ages, one of the knights of King Arthur’s round table. However, he is a fictional character and not a part of the collection. In fact the closest the Museum has is a miniature suit of armour!

Similarly the Museum does not have a medieval hallway. Although, you might recognise it from when Larry and the gang are chased by the triceratops in the film!

Take a look at our miniature suit of armour


Garuda, the golden bird-like creature who tries to warn Larry away from the lair of the Nine Xiangliu, can be found on display in the Hotung gallery.

In Hindu belief, Garuda is the mount of the god Vishnu. Being a creature of the air he was seen to despise creatures of the land and had a natural hatred of snakes and serpents, much like the character in the film!

Garuda is often depicted holding a snake in each of his claws, but sadly our Garuda lost his snakes sometime before coming to the Museum.

Twentieth Century Fox

Night at the Museum™: Secret of the Tomb
© 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.