World Gallery opens at Horniman Museum and Gardens

The new exhibition space will showcase more than 3,000 objects from around the world

The World Gallery at the Horniman Museum and Gardens. Image: Sarah Duncan

Opening to the public today, the Horniman Museum and Gardens’ new World Gallery is a state-of-the-art, 600-square-metre exhibition space created to hold the venue’s extraordinary anthropology collection.

Presenting more than 3,000 objects from around the world that explore what it means to be human, the gallery represents the long-anticipated fulfilment of the museum founder Frederick Horniman’s plan to “bring the world to Forest Hill”. The hands-on display will enable visitors to try everything from touching reindeer skin to experiencing the scent of herbs used by Bhutanese ritual healers in the Himalayas.

‘Water dreaming’, a painting by Lynette Nampijinpa Granites, an indigenous Australian artist from the Northern Territory, which features shapes and patterns representing running water, waterholes and the women who collect water there

The space features a spectacular display of kites and banners, collected from countries such as Guatemala and China, that hang from the ceiling vault in a powerful symbol of humanity’s instinct to unite in celebration or protest. The venue is divided into four connected areas, the first inviting visitors to reflect on the personal significance we attribute to objects, the second exploring lifestyles in different times and places (from Nigeria to the Congo), the third offering an overview of the museum’s history and the final looking at how we classify the world we live in. As well as objects from the existing collection, there are plenty of new acquisitions to see and contemporary issues to investigate, from migration to climate change.

The Horniman Clocktower. Image: Sophia Spring

The Horniman Museum and Gardens’ World Gallery is now open at 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23. 



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