World Gallery

Come and encounter cultures from across the continents in the World Gallery.

Over 3,000 objects from around the world give you a glimpse into other ways of life and a greater understanding of other peoples, places and cultures. 

You can touch intricately tooled Tuareg metalwork, arctic seal and reindeer skin, or discover a digital coral reef at your feet.

Smell aromatic herbs used by Bhutanese ritual healers in the Himalayas, listen to epic First Nations’ stories from the Pacific Northwest Coast, and even play in a Lagos market stall.

What can you expect?

The World Gallery will show some of the ways that ordinary people live their lives and make their way in the world we all share.

You can find stories about contemporary issues such as climate change, migration and displacement alongside artwork and objects from ancient civilisations.

Over 200 people from our community networks worked with our curators and Horniman staff, including local groups, arts organisations, community leaders, international museums, academic partners and representatives of some of those who made or used the objects in the collections.

The World Gallery will be divided into four interlinked spaces:

  • an Introductory area – welcoming visitors into the gallery and exploring the sentiments and memories we can associate with objects​; ​
  • Encounters –​ ​rich displays showing examples of ways of living from every continent and different times and places;
  • Perspectives –​ an area that reflects on how and why we categorise, describe and understand the world; and
  • Horniman’s Vision – an overview of the Horniman’s history, which will be on the balcony.

You will be greeted by a beautiful display of kites and banners hanging from the newly renovated ceiling vault.​ ​Collected and commissioned from Guatemala, China, London and beyond, these emblems signify our human instinct to come together in celebration, play or protest. Highlights include kites by Ahmadzia Bakhtyari, a London-based kite-maker from Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, and a banner created by South East London artist Ed Hall with Horniman volunteers, inspired by the long tradition of Trade Union banners.

Exhibitions and events

Music Gallery

Permanent exhibition

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,...

Natural History

Permanent exhibition

Our Natural History Gallery first opened in 1901, the design influenced by the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements of the time. Many of the original showcases remain, packed full of ...

Activities from this museum

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