Horniman Museum and Gardens

Horniman Museum and Gardens
100 London Road
Forest Hill
Greater London
SE23 3PQ






020 8699 1872


020 8291 5506

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
A photograph showing the Horniman Museum
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The Horniman has a unique range of exhibitions, events and activities which illustrate the cultural and natural world. Our collections of anthropology, natural history and musical instruments provide the inspiration for our programme of permanent and temporary exhibitions and events and activities. A full range of events and activities take place for different audiences including storytelling and art and craft sessions for children, and courses and workshops for adults.

This museum has Designated Collections of national importance.

Venue Type:

Museum, Garden, parklands or rural site

Opening hours

Open daily: 1030-1730

Admission charges

Free admissiont to Museum & Gardens.
Charge for Aquarium and some temporary exhibitions and events.

Additional info

Our library is open to the public by appointment only.

The Ethnography and Music collections are Designated Collections of national importance.

The Museum holds in total some 350,000 objects and related items. The Horniman has three main collections, World Cultures (Ethnography) comprising 80,000 objects, Natural History with 250,000 specimens, and Music with over 7,000 instruments plus 1,000 archive documents. There is also a parallel education handling collection which has over 3,700 objects drawn from all three main disciplines and a library collection with texts and related items covering the main collection areas.

The Museum also has an active collecting policy with regular fieldwork to acquire new objects and to find out more about existing ones carried out by curators. Over 90% of the collections of Ethnography and Music have been acquired since the original bequest by Frederick Horniman in 1901. Most objects not currently on display are held in storage at the Museum's Study Collection Centre in Greenwich, while the Museum also loans objects to other institutions for exhibitions.

Collection details

World Cultures, Weapons and War, Social History, Science and Technology, Photography, Performing Arts, Natural Sciences, Music, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archives, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
photograph of musical instrument

Music Gallery

  • 1 January 2014 — 1 January 2016 *on now

Over 1300 instruments from the Horniman's internationally renowned collection can be seen in the Music Gallery. Its breathtaking display spans a wide range of instruments from around the world, making up the largest number on display in the UK.

The gallery also features short films linking instruments on display to the cultures and contexts in which they are played around the world.

Interactive sound tables offer the chance to listen to the sounds of your favourite instruments, and make some new discoveries, while the Hands On Space allows everyone the chance to make some music of their own.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



At Home with Music

  • 1 July 2014 — 31 December 2015 *on now

Visit our new permanent display of keyboard instruments. This display explores domestic keyboards from the past five centuries that were brought into homes from parlours to palaces and brings together highlights of the keyboard instrument collections from the Horniman and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The display includes organs, harpsichords, pianos and clavichords and features rare and beautiful instruments.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Revisiting Romania: Dress and Identity

  • 4 October 2014 — 6 September 2015 *on now

Exploring how Romanian folk art has been used to express social and political ideas within the village and on the national and international stage.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



photograph of romanian waistcoat

Revisiting Romania

  • 4 October 2014 — 6 September 2015 *on now

An exhibition exploring how Romanian folk art has been used to express social and political ideas within the village and on the national and international stage.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Street art

Nature Late

  • 14 May 2015 6:30-9:30pm

Nature is really hotting up – and not just with global warming. Visit the Horniman after-hours and discover how contemporary artists have been inspired by fauna and flora to create fascinating responses to the world around us. From reinventing taxidermy, 1920s nature films with an electronic live score to street artists painting wildlife, sound installations, dance, tours, cocktails, food and more; we can’t wait to show you why nature is so hot it's cool.

Suitable for

  • 18+


Tickets: £5 (over-18s only)
Available on the Horniman website.



Father and child in an arts and crafts workshop

Family Art Fun

  • 25 — 29 May 2015

Free and fabulous craft activities inspired by springtime and our family exhibition Plantastic. Different activities each day include making pop up bees and Venus fly trap puppets. See horniman.ac.uk for full details.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Child holding a museum object - skull

Discovery for All

  • 25 — 26 May 2015 2-3:30pm
  • 29 May 2015 2-3:30pm

Come and visit our Hands On Base and explore its thousands of real objects from around the world.
Free. Everyone welcome including adults without children. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Sheep in the Animal Walk at the Horniman Museum and Gardens

Big Wednesday: Sheep and Wool

  • 27 May 2015 11am-3:30pm

Join us for a day of activities inspired by our woolly friends in the Animal Walk to find out all about sheep and wool and make a felt pompom.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Miss Horniman

Up the Garden Path with Miss Horniman

  • 29 May 2015 11:30am-12:15pm, 1:15-2pm, 3-3:45pm

Discover the stories and secrets of the Horniman Gardens with Miss Horniman on this storytelling tour.

Suitable for

  • Any age




Africa Dance!

  • 5 July 2015 12-5:30pm

Join us for a day of music and dance performances celebrating the diversity of styles rooted from the African Diaspora. From traditional African and Caribbean dance and drumming to specially-commissioned contemporary fusions, professional and community artists will have something for every age group to learn a dance step, a drum beat or to just sit back and enjoy the performances in the Horniman Gardens.

Suitable for

  • Any age
The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo

Africa Short Films

  • 19 July 2015 12-5pm

Join us for an afternoon of contemporary short films and documentaries from Africa and the Diaspora, curated by Suzy Gillet, producer and director. The Horniman presents a programme of films for young and old alike, directed by young up and coming directors with a focus on female directors.
Through these films, take a day trip to Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa as well as catching a glimpse of Peckham Rye and Hackney Fields, where you will meet writers, electricians, wise women and children that dream of flying.

Suitable for

  • Any age