The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, London been awarded £3.3m by the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a world-class anthropology gallery.
The World Gallery will showcase thousands of objects from the museum’s global collection to tell the story of what it means to be human.
Janet Vitmayer, Director of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, said the grant would transform the Horniman’s galleries and programmes: ‘We will share exciting new research and build on the Horniman’s leading work in the development of community collaboration, to create programmes that stimulate curiosity and help our diverse audience relate to and engage with some of the many different ways there are of living in our extraordinary world.’
The Horniman has committed to raising a further £1.4m to complete the project. Aside from the gallery, the funding will also support a studio that will use the museum’s collections as inspiration for a varied programme of leading-edge performances and exhibitions.
‘The World Gallery will display more than 3, 000 objects from our collections, in a beautiful and joyful space that celebrates human creativity, imagination and adaptability, ” commented Robert Storrie, the Horniman’s Keeper of Anthropology. “The displays will show how “things” connect people – practically and emotionally – as well as giving each of us a glimpse into other ways of understanding the world we all share.’
The Horniman Museum and Gardens welcomed its first visitors in 1901 – a gift to the people in perpetuity from tea trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman whose ambition was to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’. Today, it houses 350, 000 objects, specimens and artefacts from across the globe.
‘Already much-loved in South London, the Horniman has an incredible global story to tell, ” reports Stuart Hobley, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London. “Thanks to National Lottery players this project will enable previously hidden items from the museum’s anthropology collections to be enjoyed for the first time and ensure that people – from our ancestors to today’s visitors – remain at its heart.’
The Horniman’s existing anthropology galleries will be closed to the public from September 2016.
Main image kind courtesy Horniman/Cliff Van Coevorden