The DCMS has announced that the Horniman and Geffrye Museums will stay under the DCMS umbrella and that the London museums will continue to be sponsored directly by the government. The DCMS is the Government’s department responsible for supporting all of the national museums and galleries. They have a funding relationship with several other museums including the Horniman and Geffrye Museums, based in London.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens in South East London has an award-winning collection specialising in anthropology, natural history and musical instruments, while the Geffrye Museum in East London specialises in the history of the home. In October 2010,the DCMS announced that they would be exploring whether the Horniman and Geffrye Museums would be more effectively sponsored through other bodies in the longer term.
Since then, the DCMS have worked with both museums to consider potential new sponsors. Following detailed discussions about a number of options, including a possible transfer to Arts Council England,they have now decided not to pursue any alternative sponsorship options and for the museums to remain with the Department. The department claims they are fully committed to building on the success of both museums and ensuring their future success.
The Geffrye Museum depicts the quintessential style of English middle-class living rooms. Its collections of furniture, textiles, paintings and decorative arts are displayed in a series of period rooms from 1600 to the present day. The displays lead the visitor on a walk through time, from the 17th century with oak furniture and panelling, past the refined splendour of the Georgian period and the high style of the Victorians, to 20th century modernity as seen in a 1930s flat, a mid-century room in ‘contemporary style’ and a late-20th century living space in a converted warehouse. The museum is set in elegant 18th century almshouses with a contemporary wing surrounded by attractive gardens, which include an award-winning walled herb garden and a series of period gardens.
The museum has embarked on a development to make the Geffrye an even better place to visit, with improved learning facilities and access to collections. This ambitious £16.3m development will include a new entrance; address circulation and congestion in the period rooms, create a new library, gallery and learning rooms and restaurant. The scheme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and due to open in 2015.
The Horniman Museum has been open since Victorian times, when Frederick John Horniman first opened his house and extraordinary collection of objects to visitors. Since then, the collection has grown tenfold and includes internationally important collections of anthropology and musical instruments, as well as an acclaimed aquarium and natural history collection. Unusually for such an important museum, you can see our collection up-close and face-to-face. At the Horniman the public is encouraged to handle and play with some of the objects.
Eight out of the top ten UK visitor attractions are sponsored National Museums. These are the British Museum (1), Tate Modern (2), The National Gallery (3), Natural History Museum (4), Science Museum (6), Victoria and Albert Museum (7), National Maritime Museum (9) and National Portrait Gallery (10). (Source ALVA).
There were a record 43.8 million visits in 2010/11 – with many museums including the Imperial War Museum, National Gallery, National Maritime Museum, Natural History Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum recording highest visitor figures ever.