[Skip to content] [Skip to main navigation] [Skip to user navigation] [Skip to global search] [Accessibility information] [Contact us]

Previous Next
of 71 items

Refugee Week is turning 20

Refugee Week is turning 20 and at the Horniman we're celebrating

Every year on the 20 June, people around the world celebrate World Refugee Day with a whole week of events meant to recognise the positive contributions of refugees and asylum seekers to our societies.

In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK and encourages a better understanding between communities. 

At the Horniman, we have a long tradition of working with refugee groups, schools, and our visitors to raise awareness about the problems facing refugees and this year is no different. On the 20 June, to mark the celebration World Refugee Day our volunteers will encourage general visitors to join the national Make Simple Acts campaign to help change the way we see refugees, and ourselves.

Throughout the week school groups in our education centre we will also be shown "Exile in Colour", an exhibition of drawings and paintings produced by adults and children during therapeutic art sessions at Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers and Barry House, a local hostel for asylum seekers and refugees, and "Where Do I Come From?", a patchwork tapestry created by visitors during our annual Crossing Borders event in March, a full day of workshops and art and craft activities delivered by local refugee organisations.

Free talks: Welcome to the Horniman

Join one of our Visitor Hosts for a short introduction to the Horniman. Great for first-time visitors, or as a general overview if you haven’t been to visit for a while.

These short talks are suitable for everyone and will help you get the most out of your visit.

Talks take place weekly, and you can meet by the Ticket Desk at the following times:

  • Wednesdays, 4pm
  • Saturdays, 4pm
  • Sundays, 11am

Booking information

The talks are free, but are on a first come, first served basis with a maximum of 10 visitors per tour.

If you would like to bring a group, please contact us on 020 8699 1872 x 183.

International Year of the Reef

We are celebrating International Year of the Reef at the Horniman, with a programme of activities throughout 2018.

As the Horniman is home to an acclaimed Aquarium and our Project Coral research, we want to celebrate the beauty and diversity of coral reefs. The programme includes a blog series, displays, talks and special events. We want to highlight the value of these reefs to marine life and to humans, the threats to these fragile ecosystems and the vital work done to preserve them.

What is International Year of the Reef?

2018 is the third International Year of the Reef. Did you know that coral reefs are one the most biological diverse habitats on earth? They take up less than 0.1% of the oceans floor they are home to 25% of all marine life.

But 60% of the world’s coral reefs may die within the next 20 years.

The International Year of the Reef seeks to change that by:

  • Raising awareness about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and their ecosystems;
  • Sharing information on how to sustain coral reefs;
  • Managing conservation, increase resiliency and the sustainability of these ecosystems; and
  • Promoting partnerships on the management of coral reefs.

What can you expect?

Visit the live corals in the Aquarium

Most of our visitors will know we have an Aquarium at the Horniman. You can visit several different reef tanks to explore the corals themselves and the creatures who live in and among them.

See Karen Dodd’s Fabric of the Reef display

Inspired by the Horniman's Aquarium and Natural History collection, artist Karen Dodd uses woollen fabric – dyed and sculpted, and intricately bound and stitched – to draw attention to coral and coral reefs. Her work celebrates their beauty and raises awareness of coral vulnerability in the face of increasing environmental change.

Have a Reef Encounter

Meet some of the people who live or work with coral reefs around the world. Learn who they are, and find out why these Reef Encounters are so vital to the future survival of coral reefs, in this blog series running throughout 2018.

Read the research

Our Aquarium Team has also published their research about inducing coral spawning. Read the research online.

Part of

Storytelling at the Horniman

Debbie from Small Tales Storytelling Clubs reflects upon her experience sharing stories from across India at the Horniman Indian Summer Garden party.

The day dawned bright and sunny over London and over India.  I was looking forward to the storytelling sessions, as today I was performing with four of my young storytellers from Small Tales Storytelling Clubs at the opening of the Horniman Museum’s Indian Summer Festival. The group consisted of Emily, Eve, Joe and Rose beside myself, Debbie.  We were going to tell stories from different parts of India, as well as doing both hand dancing and Bollywood dancing with our audience. 

The sessions began with a hand dance that helps hand-eye coordination and got more difficult as the dance went on.  There was much laughter as the adults tried as hard as the children to make shapes of birds, flowers, trees, and water. Then I introduced the storyteller who was going to tell the next story.  The first young storyteller was Rose, who told the story of a man who wanted a horse and could not afford it, so a wily stallholder sold him a horse egg. This was followed by Eve and myself telling the story of a King who loved his baths yet always ended up with dirty feet.  He was responsible for the first shoes being created. The next story was told by Emily and Joe, about a Topi Wallah (hat seller) who pits his wisdom against the monkeys in the forest and ends with understanding the true meaning of stories. The audience really got into the swing of being either the Topi Wallah or the monkeys, with most choosing the latter. Needless to say, our stories had unexpected endings and brought forth laughter and nodding of heads in agreement.

Finally, I told the story which was told to me when my mother wrapped my first sari around me.  It is the story of a weaver who marries the woman of his dreams and ends with creating the very first sari, which she wore on their wedding day.  We are told this story so that we realise the importance of following our dreams and the possibility of them coming true. Whilst I told the story, I wrapped a beautiful golden sari on a volunteer from the audience.  The moment that last piece was laid over the shoulder, there was a gasp from the audience as it goes from a long piece of cloth to an amazing piece of clothing.  Then I showed the audience some simple Bollywood dance moves and we ended with us all dancing.

Our young storytellers had only positive things to say about the experience.

“Performing at the museum was very interesting as I got to tell stories to people of all ages and it was a wonderful experience. My partner, Joe and I told an Indian story, the Topi Wallah. We used audience participation to include everyone and it was an amazing opportunity. During the performance, we danced with the audience, which I especially enjoyed”.  Emily (14)

“We all had a fantastic time performing at the Horniman. The audiences were very engaged and seemed to love our stories! The surroundings were very interesting, especially in the room with all the masks. The staff were also amazing and looked after us so well. Thank you to the Horniman for having us, we would love to come again”.  Eve (11)

“Getting to tell the story of the Topi Wallah was an amazing experience. We were treated very professionally and were given a great venue to perform in. The atmosphere during the performance and the dancing afterward were very pleasant and overall a joy to be a part of”.  Joe (14)

My memory of the day was that the stories flowed; the young storytellers enthralled the audience who laughed and danced with us.  As for me, I left with the joy induced by the people, both young and old, who had taken the time to come and listen. 

Competition Time: Win two tickets to see The Jungle Book

We've teamed up with our partners Luna Cinema to give you the chance to win two free tickets to our screening of The Jungle Book in our Gardens on 6 August.

Simply respond to one of our competition posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, by 3 pm on Friday 28 July, telling us why you love the Horniman and we'll pick our favourite.

Mowgli's journey to the man-village to escape the Bengal tiger Shere Khan becomes an unforgettable adventure in the company of Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear. 2017 is the 50th anniversary of this classic, song-filled Disney animation, so come and celebrate with us.

Terms and conditions apply:

This competition is only open to UK residents, excluding employees of THE HORNIMAN PUBLIC MUSEUM AND PUBLIC PARK TRUST or their families, agents or anyone else connected with this promotion. No third party entries, bulk entries or entries submitted by agents will be accepted. THE HORNIMAN PUBLIC MUSEUM AND PUBLIC PARK TRUST reserves the right to verify the eligibility of entrants. The Horniman may require such information as it considers reasonably necessary for the purpose of verifying the eligibility of an entry and the prize may be withheld until and unless the Horniman is satisfied with the verification.
Entrants must be over 18 and warrant such by entering this competition/prize draw.
Entries not complying with these terms and conditions will be invalid.
Entries received after the expiry date are invalid.
Winner(s) will be by notified via social media dependent upon the manner in which the competition/prize draw was entered. If the winner fails to respond by 12pm Monday 31 July, they shall forfeit the prize and a runner-up will be contacted.
The Horniman will not be responsible for any inability of a prize winner to take up the specified prize.
Cash or credit alternatives will not be offered. The prize is non-transferable.
In the event of fraud, abuse, and/or an error affecting the proper operation of this competition/prize draw, including the allocation of more prizes than are available, The Horniman reserves the right to end or suspend the competition/prize draw; amend these terms and conditions; declare void the notification of winner(s); and/or to allocate available prizes by conducting a simple draw from all wrongly allocated winners.
If any provision of these terms and conditions is held invalid by any law, rule, order or regulation of any government, or by the final determination of any court of a competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect the enforceability of any other provisions not held to be invalid.
THE HORNIMAN PUBLIC MUSEUM AND PUBLIC PARK TRUST reserves the right to suspend, cancel or amend the competition/prize draw and/or review and revise these terms and conditions at any time without giving prior notice and by continuing to take part in the promotion subsequent to any revision of these terms and conditions, entrants shall be deemed to have agreed to any such new or amended terms.
This competition/prize draw is governed by English Law and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Goodbye Busy Bees

Our Busy Bees programme has ended for the summer but we hope you've enjoyed it as much as we have. Fear not, Busy Bees will return at 10, 10.45 and 11.30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, beginning on Tuesday 12 September, with more stories, objects, music and outdoor play. In the meantime, we hope to see you at some of our summer events.

During the school holidays, we run an exciting programme of events for families and children of all ages. Activities take place every day from Saturday 22nd July until Sunday 3rd September and full details can be found on the calendar on our website.

Some highlights from our summer programme include: 

Wednesday 26 July – Big Butterfly Count

Join Richard ‘Bugman’ Jones exploring our gardens and Nature Trail and take part in the nation’s Big Butterfly Count using spotter sheets and sweeper nets.

Wednesday 2 August – Horniman Favourites

Celebrate National Play Day by watching a traditional Punch & Judy Show and get up close to some live owls with JAMBS Owls.

Wednesday 9 August – Indian Summer  

Join us for the launch of our Big Wednesday Indian Summer programme, watch traditional Indian dance, find out how to drape a sari and listen to Indian folk tales.

  • Subrang Arts, Subrang Arts
    Subrang Arts

Farmers' Market Focus: Damaris Designs

Please introduce yourself…

My name is Damaris Copus and I am at the Horniman Farmers' Market as Damaris Designs.

What do you do at the Farmers’ Market?

I grow flowers, trees, fruit and vegetables, and make floral arrangements, wreaths and garlands, using both home-grown and foraged materials. I use pesticide free flowers, working with all the seasons and using natural forms as inspiration

  • Damaris Designs' Garden , Damaris Copus
    , Damaris Copus

Tell us about how you grow your produce?

I grow a lot of my materials in Polhill, Kent, in my woodland edge garden and on my large allotment. I live in Kent half the time, with my family and friends.

The garden is on a piece of land that had been used to park diggers while building the M25. As you can imagine, this left its mark and I have spent over ten years healing the land with massive amounts of homemade compost, manure from our chickens and leaf mould which we make in huge quantity.

I also have a small piece of land in mid-Wales, where our family has lived for nearly 30 years. I also use materials from here, and we mainly use the land for roses, willows, pines and many other trees.

Lastly, I often use flowers and foliage which has been grown by friends and family, or that grow in gardens that I maintain for customers. But strictly only those without pesticides, and only with owner’s permission.

  • Damaris Designs' Garden , Damaris Copus
    , Damaris Copus

When you aren’t at our Farmers’ Market, where can we find you?

I hold workshops teaching wreath-making, and summer workshops teaching floral head dress making. My busiest time is Christmas, making and selling wreaths and holding workshops, but I never have a very quiet time.

Sometimes I take to the road at fairs and festivals and sell woodcarvings made by my family and friends, chestnut arches, hazel plant supports and arts and crafts. I love to pick up interesting artisan objects on my travels, which I use to display plants and flowers, and I often have baskets or pots for sale, depending on where I have been camped and who I have met.

I sometimes design or maintain gardens for clients, and I will only accept work which falls in with my basic principles of natural (and sometimes wild) growing.

I work on my gardens and woods whenever I can; sometimes every day for a week but often just a few hours, 3 or 4 times a week. My garden style might best be described as relaxed and naturalistic, but this still involves a lot of work!

  • Damaris Designs' Garden , Damaris Copus
    , Damaris Copus


Why is being pesticide free important to you?

I work in a way that reflects my available time and my principles. Having worked on many farms over the years, I know that biodynamic and organic growing produces great results, but I don't align myself to their movements exclusively. In practice, this means that I would never use pesticide, industrially produced fertiliser or herbicides.

I have great results using only homemade fertilisers: comfrey and nettle juice used sparingly, for instance. I also recycle materials such as tyres to build beds, rather than buying new products. I try to garden in tune with the moon and I am very 'low impact' on my environment in terms of water use, as we collect and store rainwater to use. This careful use of water is in marked contrast to some conventional growers, who are heavy users of both natural and industrial resources.

I have always grown in this way, influenced by my mother who is a great believer in the importance of compost and is a defender of bees. We need insects to feed birds and poison will kill good and bad insects indiscriminately. We are all part of the same living system and I would love to leave a better and healthier world for my own and other children.

  • Damaris Designs' Garden , Damaris Copus
    , Damaris Copus

What does being part of the Horniman mean to you?

I am really thrilled to have the opportunity to trade at the Horniman. I visited the Museum and grounds a few years ago, and was very taken by it. The market is very friendly and the standard of the products available is high.

What do you enjoy doing away from the Farmers’ Market?

I make time to travel when I can and have just returned from a road trip to the flower meadows of the Apuseni Mountains, Romania. It was one of the most beautiful sights that I have ever seen.

On my return I was relieved to find that it had been raining in Kent, and my garden is full of fab blooms just waiting to be picked. Jim had sown the seeds that I left, so with luck I will have flowers for months to come.

  • Damaris Designs' Garden , Damaris Copus
    , Damaris Copus

About the Art: Linda Litchfield

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held every year in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community. 

The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists and all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects.

This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak to textiles artist Linda Litchfield.

What is the story behind your artwork?

I like to work with slow processes, dyeing fabric and threads with plants and stitching by hand. I often incorporate found textiles which carry their own narrative of past use. The work grows and develops slowly in my own hands as I add to it.

What inspires you in day-to-day life?

Plants and the colour that can be extracted from and then used to dye fabric and thread. The feel of used and worn textiles. The slow accretion of texture that can be achieved with stitch. The organic, the ramshackle, the dilapidated, the incomplete.

  • Linda Litchfield, Linda Litchfield
    , Linda Litchfield

Why do you think it is important to support local artists?

Art enhances the quality and enjoyment of life of everyone. Artists devote their time to creating art. Local artists are part of your community and by living and working where they do, they improve your area. By supporting local artists, you are encouraging and assisting them to continue in practice and thus benefitting them, your community and yourself.

  • Linda Litchfield, Linda Litchfield
    , Linda Litchfield

About the Art: Peter Forder

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community. 

The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists, with all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects.

This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak to Peter Forder about his work in oil on canvas.

What is the story behind your artwork?

Bitterns: I was very excited to see bitterns at Minsmere in Suffolk. They are big birds (there is a stuffed one in the Horniman) and look rather odd, like primeval killing machines; they seem slow and heavy in flight. I’ve tried to suggest these things in the picture.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

The fox and the moon: I wanted this to be quite an elemental picture: a wild animal out hunting, alone with the moon up in Space. I also like the way a gibbous moon seems to hang in the sky like an egg.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

Allotment in June: I hope this picture, done at Grove Park, suggests the heavy lushness of a June afternoon on an allotment. Some people say not to use black in painting, but I use it like anything.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

Spring flowers with quinces: I am inspired by the flower pieces of British painter Sir Cedric Morris (1889-1981), and I think this picture has something of a period feel. It contains tulips, narcissi, bluebells, cornflowers and woad.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

Tulips with quinces and broccoli: I like the rich colours of tulips and the crazy shapes of the parrot ones. I grow them on the allotment - an easy early crop.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

What inspires you in day-to-day life?

Gardens and allotments, wildlife and nature, paintings and ceramics.

Why do you think it is important to support local artists?

Arts are about people expressing themselves and hopefully touching a chord with others. This doesn’t have to be done in a grand gallery (though I like grand galleries too!).

I would like to see more people have original works of art on their walls - with the textures and brush strokes made by the artist - rather than mass reproductions. So they need to be able to see local work, and afford to buy it.

Finally, like most people, I live in the suburbs, and I suppose my pictures concern suburban things, which I think are neglected in favour of the urban, the rural and the maritime. So let’s fly the flag for art in the suburbs!

Previous Next
of 71 items