The Horniman Museum and Gardens has been awarded £5.7m by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, in support of its £10m Nature + Love project.

The project will redevelop three areas of the south London venue, most notably its Natural History Gallery. Built in 1901, the fabric of the Grade II listed building will be upgraded under the plans. .

Adjacent to the gallery will be an Action Zone focused on local wildlife with interactive elements designed for families with young children. The project will also transform two currently under-used areas of the Gardens.

A disused model boating pond will be transformed into a natural play area known as the Nature Explorers Adventure Zone, and the under-used South Downs area of the Gardens will become a Sustainable Gardening Zone with glasshouses housing a plant nursery and community facilities.

The redevelopments, which are subject to planning, are due to begin in 2024.

The Nature + Love plans have been developed by architects Feilden Fowles working in collaboration with landscape architects J&L Gibbons and with the indoor gallery display being redesigned by exhibition designers Studio MB.

The Horniman is approaching other funding bodies to support the remaining cost of the project, which is expected to reach just over £10m.

It already has a pledge of £1.4m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a grant of £250,000 from the Foyle Foundation, and has raised £200,000 from Trustees and a number of individual donors.

The Horniman previously received Stage 1 development funding of £475,000 from the Heritage Fund, to develop the Nature + Love plans.

Nick Merriman, Chief Executive and Director of Content at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, said the new funding will allow it to “look forward to creating three new and exciting destinations for our visitors, and to fostering the next generation’s love and care for the natural world.’

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: ‘The space will be transformed to inspire the next generation to engage and immerse themselves in learning about natural heritage and our climate. Heritage is a brilliant way to bring people together and projects like these are integral to connect more people with the nature and wildlife around them.”

In 2022 the Horniman Museum and Gardens was announced as winner of Art Fund’s Museum Of The Year award, taking home a £100,000 prize.

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