"Horniman Museum: "the world to Forest Hill"" Horniman Museum & Gardens Tip by Spincat

Horniman Museum & Gardens, London: 6 reviews and 13 photos

  Horniman museum
by Spincat

I sometimes hear newcomers to London asking whatever is that strange gingerbread tower and that wacky building with a grass roof right on London's south circular road?

Frederick John Horniman was a Victorian tea trader and benfactor and his mission in founding the museum was to 'bring the world to Forest Hill'. The museum was first opened in part of his family home, and visitors could view the artefacts he'd collected on his travels. The collections soon outgrew this, and in 1898 Horniman commissioned Charles Harrison Townsend to design a new Museum. The poignant displays of stuffed animals - including an oddly shaped walrus - all date from this time. In 2002 the museum expanded considerably and took on the role of showcasing world artifacts in a less Victorian way!

Nowadays, the museum comprises three main collections, World Cultures (Ethnography), Natural History, and Musical Instruments with over 7,000 instruments. There is also a library collection with texts covering the main collection areas. Good coffeee and cake may be taken in a wonderful wrought iron and glass Victorian conservatory.

The aquarium is particularly lovely, and nowadays describes its mission thus: "to inspire people to respect the natural world".
Amazing sea horses, astonishingly bright sponges and coral.

Typical recent exhibitions: "People of the rainforest", "Wrapping Japan" and "African Worlds". Lots of activities for children, classes/seminars for adults and sometimes free exhibitions and concerts in its lofty and charming park (see my tip on the park).

Address: 1100 London Road, Forest Hill, south London
Directions: on the South Circular Road (A205) just before Forest Hill
Phone: +44 20 8699 1872
Website: http://www.horniman.ac.uk

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 2, 2008
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