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Over the next few years the Horniman Museum and Gardens will be asking the question: What does it mean to be human?

In a major three-year development of its gallery spaces, the Horniman's world-renowned Anthropology collection will be redisplayed.

Celebrating the wonder and complexity of what it means to be human, visitors will encounter different ways of seeing the world through the display of exciting and inspiring objects from across the continents. The new spaces will allow visitors to see their own place among the variety and beauty of the world’s many cultures, providing opportunity to reflect upon their own lives.

Three new gallery spaces

  • The central gallery space will be transformed, re-introducing daylight and recapturing the spirit of the original building. The gallery will house thousands of objects, many not seen by the public for many years.
  • The project will also tell the story of Frederick Horniman’s inspirational founding vision, his early collections and his gift of the Museum and Gardens to the nation.
  • These transformed displays of our existing collection will be complemented by a vibrant new Studio space. Artists, scientists and creative thinkers will work with visitors and communities, responding to both the collection and global issues.

The novelty, ambition and scope of the project will attract visitors from a great diversity of backgrounds and offer exciting opportunities for everyone to learn and share new ideas.


Phase One, to design the space, is now underway. A major fundraising campaign to raise £1.3 million to support the project has started, with a public appeal to begin in 2016. The project received initial support for a £3.3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) last year.

The new galleries are planned to open in 2018.


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