Horniman Museum and Gardens

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.

Getting there

Nearest station: Forest Hill

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.


  • 20 May — 26 November 2017 *on now

Using symbols drawn on terracotta water containers and vibrant maps, Artsit Daksha Patel draws attention to the environmental threats facing rivers and water courses, and the challenges encountered by the people and wildlife that depend upon this most precious resource.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly





robot giraffe head

The Robot Zoo

  • 11 February — 29 October 2017 *on now

This family friendly exhibition features larger-than-life animals recreated in robot form, using a variety of machine parts and gadgets to reveal how their real life counterparts see, eat, hunt and hide. Interactive exhibits also give you the chance to try jet-propelled squid racing, shoot a chameleon's 'tongue-gun' and even design your own 'mutant' robot creature.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Family £18.70, Child £4.40, Adult £7.70 (includes voluntary 10% Gift Aid donation). Joint tickets with the Aquarium available. Horniman Members get FREE unlimited entry.



Bengal Tiger

  • 13 June — 3 September 2017 *on now

A stunning taxidermy Bengal Tiger, on loan from the Natural History Museum, is on display in our Natural History Gallery throughout our Indian Summer.



India Unplugged

  • 13 June — 24 September 2017 *on now

Until 24 September
This photography exhibition showcases traditional music making in Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Odisha and Kerala. The featured musicians were photographed during a project to document disappearing music and instruments in India, at a time of rapid change, between 2000 and 2007. The ‘Traditional Music in India’ project was run by the British Library Sound Archive and the Horniman. It aimed to reflect aspects of the cultural and musical diversity of India.

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.

Bandstand Music

  • 6 — 20 August 2017 *on now

Sundays 6, 13, 20 August, 3-6pm
Enjoy music on the Bandstand with local favourites, and sounds from across South Asia.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Hear it Live!

  • 29 August 2017 3:30-4pm

Mehboob Nadeem will introduce and perform on the sitar, North India’s best known stringed instrument. Everyone welcome - but most suitable for children 5+.



Horniman Mela

  • 3 September 2017 12-6pm

Our amazing Indian Summer draws to an end with a fun day of performances and activities inspired by popular South Asian festivals and celebratory traditions, and an arts and crafts market in partnership with Pexmas. The day will culminate with a spectacular gathering to recreate a Holi festival colour throw (it will be messy so please don’t wear or bring anything valuable or that stains easily. Plastic ponchos will be available).



Getting there

Nearest station: Forest Hill

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






020 8699 1872


020 8291 5506

All information is supplied by the venues or providers 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.

Related teaching activities

Key Stage 2 English, 1 lesson

EN3 Writing

The Horniman Museum holds a unique collection of musical instruments. Chose a local building and write a poem about it, using instruments and music as a metaphor.

Key Stage 2 Geography, 1-2 lessons

Geographical enquiry and skills

There are 16 acres of formal and natural landscaped gardens at the Horniman Museum and Gardens. Write an illustrated trail for these gardens, mapping distances and other measurements that would be useful to a visitor.

Key Stage 3 Art and Design, Small project

2.1 Explore and create

Design a textile pattern based on the layout of the gardens at Hormiman Museum.

Key Stage 3 Citizenship, 1 lesson

2.1 Critical thinking and enquiry

Hold a whole class debate to discuss the way that museums and galleries can support learning about citizenship and change in our society.

Key Stage 3 English, 1-2 lessons

En3 Writing

Write an advertisement targeted at schools to encourage them to visit local museums to learn about cultural heritage, using the Horniman Museum as an example.