Unlocking the Geffrye will see 70 per cent of the museum’s buildings open to the public, from 30 per cent currently, and the creation of a gallery, library, central reception, entrance and café. These fresh additions will sit alongside a newly built learning and event spaces, opening up more event and meeting areas for visitors as well as allowing more of the collection to come out of storage.
The Geffrye Museum explores the home from 1600 to the present day with displays of London, middle-class living rooms and gardens that illustrate homes and home-life through the centuries, reflecting changes in society, behaviour, style and taste.
Planning was secured in July 2016 and the museum’s priority now is to raise the balance of the funds. “This National Lottery grant is a massive boost and endorsement for the project, for which we are hugely grateful,” said Sonia Solicari, Director of the Geffrye. “With this crucial funding secure, alongside the £4.3m we have already raised, we can now press ahead with raising the final £1.5m to make our vision a reality. With support from trusts and foundations, donors and our visitors we will make the Geffrye a better, even more inspiring place for all.”
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said Unlocking Geffrye was an imaginative project to improve the museum’s capacity and to tell the evolving story of British domestic life over the past three centuries. “The existing site’s combination of historic buildings, collections, period rooms and gardens will be greatly enhanced thanks to major support from the National Lottery,” he said. “Close to Hoxton Station and with plans for a new café and other improved visitor facilities, the Geffrye is set to become a focal point for heritage and culture in the East End of London.”
The aim is to start the work on site in early 2018, when the museum will close for an 18-month period, reopening in late 2019.