The Horniman is my local museum and I have been visiting it for years so I was delighted to be invited to preview the new World Gallery which is now open.
Some 3,000 objects from around the world exploring what it means to be human go on display this week in the new World Gallery. A number of new acquisitions, special commissions and interactive exhibits are showcased alongside important and intriguing objects from the Horniman’s collection – including many on display for the first time in a generation.
Divided into four interlinked spaces, the World Gallery showcases historic and contemporary objects from all five inhabited continents to show visitors some of the ways that people live their lives, looking at common virtues of love and compassion, trust and friendship, dignity and courage. Visitors are invited to discover and celebrate the beauty and diversity of the world’s cultures, and to share a sense of belonging and pride in human creativity and resilience.
The World Gallery provides fascinating insights into how we all learn through stories. I loved the masks and the Naya fashion (2007). There are a few touchy-feely things for children including writing a wish and hanging it on the Cloutie Tree. Plus there the beautiful spectacle of of kites and banners hanging from the newly renovated ceiling vault. Collected and commissioned from Guatemala, China, London and beyond, these emblems signify our human instinct to come together in celebration, play or protest. Highlights include kites by Ahmadzia Bakhtyari, a London-based kite-maker from Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, and a banner created by South East London artist Ed Hall with Horniman volunteers, inspired by the long tradition of Trade Union banners.
The World Gallery is just one aspect of the Horniman Museum to explore – there is so much to do including the room of musical instruments that children can play and the outdoor areas, perfect for a picnic.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Opening times and admission – open daily 10.00am-5.30pm, closed 24 – 26 December. The Gardens open at 7.15am Monday to Saturday and 8.00am on Sunday and Bank Holidays, and close at sunset.
Entry free to the Museum and Gardens but charges apply for the Aquarium, Butterfly House and some special exhibitions and events. Horniman Members and Benefactors go free – horniman.ac.uk/members.
Access – wheelchair and pushchair friendly with accessible toilets. Limited on-site parking is available for disabled visitors – call 020 8699 1872.
Travel – The Horniman is situated on the South Circular Road (A205) in Forest Hill, London. It can be reached easily by train to Forest Hill from Highbury and Islington, Whitechapel and Canada Water (on the London Overground line), London Bridge (15 minutes), London Victoria, Clapham Junction and East Croydon, and by local buses (176, 185, 197, 356, P4).