The Horniman Museum


As you’ve probably gathered by now I am rather partial to visiting museums and art galleries.  Having heard that the Horniman Museum boasted a fine collection  of natural history I decided to pay a visit. The museum has been open since Victorian times and also includes internationally important collections of anthropology and musical instruments, as well as an acclaimed aquarium.

I did make the mistake of getting off at Syndenham Hill Station and walking up the really steep hill and seemed to walk for ages before reaching my destination (after exploring the local area afterwards I found that the next time I pay a visit I would get off at Forest Hill as it was closer to the museum) still it meant I didn’t feel guilty about eating a slice of Oreo cake in the museum’s cafe.

I went on a weekday and found I could look at each exhibit in my own time as the only other visitors seemed to be a class on a school trip and several mums and toddlers. There was a quote displayed in one of the spaces attributed to Frederick Horniman that seemed quiet apt. “There is an old story entitled ‘Eyes No Eyes’. Those who use their eyes obtain the most enjoyment and knowledge. Those who look but do not see , go away no wiser than they came.”

It was quite nice being able to linger a while rather than just viewing the objects via the viewfinder on my iPhone as I was snapping away.

Here are a few of the displays that caught my eye.

horniman dodo

horniman koala

horniman walrus

horniman pink cockatoo

horniman skull

horniman bugs

horniman anteater

horniman chameleon

horniman mask

horniman headress

horniman torture

horniman drum

I didn’t have the opportunity to view the aquarium or wander round the 16 acre gardens due to time constraints as I had other plans but I would be interested in seeing those in the future.

There’s was plenty to see from insects, fossils and skeletons to masks, tribal wear and pretty much every musical instrument you can think off. I particularly liked how they categorised some of their displays as you would have several species from the same genus so you could see the similarities and differences through evolution. Likewise with the instruments you saw all the percussion grouped together for example.

Whether you enjoy seeing taxidermy or ethnography specimens or a vast array of musical instruments there’s certainly lots here to enjoy.
horniman dodo statue


The Horniman Museum is located at 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ and is open daily 10.30am – 5.30pm, except 24 – 26 December when they are closed.

Admission to the Museum and Gardens is free.There is a small charge for the Aquarium and some temporary exhibitions.

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