The nineteenth century saw the flowering of the museum culture in Britain. The British Museum, which had been founded in 1753, expanded. Several great national collections were formed; the South Kensington opened to the public in 1852, the National Portrait Gallery in 1859, the National History Museum in 1881 and the Tate Gallery in 1897. In the wake of the Museum Act of 1845, which permitted the use of tax money for municipal museums, the number of public collections increased rapidly. According to Susan Pearce, there were fewer than twelve public museums in Britain in 1800; by 1850 there were nearly sixty, by 1887, more than 240, and by 1928, more than five hundred [ ]. Since then, the total number has continued to rise. Richard Humphrey estimat - ed in 2003 that todays Britain has over 2,500 museums. In 1983, the number of visitors to museums and galleries exceeded that of cinema goers for the first time. By 1997, museums in Britain had over 80m visitors a year. The British Museum alone boasted of nearly 6m on its 2010 website.