The Blue Badge

East London Guides

Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum
Photo: Mary Sewell

This is an interior visit

Frederick Horniman was a 19th C tea trader with a passion for collecting. He opened his house in Forest Hill to the public, and in 1891 bequeathed the site and collection to London. The Horniman Museum opened in 1901, an Art Nouveau gem in beautiful gardens at Forest Hill, with stunning views over central London. Lottery funding has enabled the Museum to extend and re-equip for the 21st century. The collections include an internationally famed gallery of musical instruments, a brand new aquarium, the African Worlds Gallery that celebrates the diversity of the African continent with exhibits that include three specially assembled Vodou altars, a 20 foot high Nigerian masquerade Ijele, and brass plaques from Benin, and the brand new Centenary Gallery containing Frederick Horniman’s remarkable personal ethnographic collection in a modern accessible setting. Still popular too are the Natural History Collections that chart the history of life on earth, contain a severely over-stuffed walrus, and provide cautionary tales about extinct and endangered species.

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