Next year the Museum of the Home, formerly the Geffrye Museum of the Home, will welcome the public to a site which hopes to retain its former appeal while simultaneously dazzling with new architectural additions that have doubled the space accessible to visitors.

Exhibition areas have increased by 80% and the original Grade-I listed Geffrye Almshouses have been restored, with the total spend said to be £18.1 million. Of this figure, £600,000 remains to be sourced.

Illustration of the new reception area © Wright & Wright Architects LLP

£12.3 million of the scheme’s outlay was bankrolled by support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Museum aims to raise the final amount required to sign off the project through fundraising. This push includes the launch of its Sow a Seed appeal, in which the public are invited to support the replanting of the Museum’s Gardens Through Time.

To make the vision of a reimagined Museum of the Home a reality, significant cash injections have also been made by donors, trusts and foundations, corporations and individuals.

What to expect

Additions and alterations made through the renovation project by Wright & Wright Architects include:

  • A new entrance directly opposite Hoxton Station, a street-facing café with terrace and much improved visitor reception and facilities
  • A new Learning Pavilion and Studio which will allow more people of all ages and abilities to take part in the Museum’s award-winning learning programme and activities
  • Direct, all-year-round access to the Gardens Through Time and a brand new eco-friendly roof garden
  • A new Collections Library overlooking the front gardens which will open up public access to the Museum’s extensive archive and collections for the first time

The rebranding process, developed in collaboration with brand consultancy dn&co, yielded the institution’s slightly shorter new moniker, and was undertaken to convey an “evolution in focus”; with its focus shifting from the historical to include more contemporary and diverse perspectives.

Museum of the Home
New logo designed by dn&Co © Museum of the Home

The collection, too, will be reframed and refreshed following the redevelopment work. New permanent displays set within as yet unseen exhibition and event spaces will enable visitors to access the Museum’s Collection in different ways. New objects will also be joining the Collection, all charting the everyday experiences of homes from 1600 to the present day.

A living room in 1965 - One of the Museum's Rooms Through Time © Chris Ridley
Walled Herb Garden featuring over 170 varieties of plants which have many domestic uses © Jayne Lloyd

“I can’t wait to welcome visitors, old and new, next summer to explore the Museum of the Home and to celebrate this new chapter in the Museum’s history,” Sonia Solicari, Museum of the Home’s director, enthusiastically states. “Our new displays, spaces and stories will be a starting point for ideas and conversation about what home means. I hope every visitor will feel at home here and be able to relate their own experiences and ideas of home to the stories we share.”

Museum of the Home
Sonia Solicari in the Undercroft, part of the new Home Galleries © Em Fitzgerald

Home Galleries

One of the new exhibition spaces at the Museum of the Home will be created in the lower ground floor of the site’s almshouses. Named the Home Galleries, they will run the full length of the building, providing part of the 80% additional exhibition space at the venue.

The new Home Galleries will showcase works and projects including:

  • The Museum’s Documenting Homes Collection, which comprises stories, interviews and photographs that record home circumstances over the past 100 years
  • Shelf Life – a new film revealing how our homes reflect our identity, created in collaboration with the Museum’s Faith & Culture Forum
  • In the Garden – a photographic series of older Hackney residents by Sophie Verhagen that serve as a reminder of the love, reward and frustration gardens can create
  • Love & Loss – exploring the relationships that shape our sense of belonging, through historic paintings and contemporary photographs

The first commission of Summer 2020 will be an immersive sound installation by writer Maria Fusco. The piece will respond to objects in the new Home Galleries and explore ideas of materiality and absence.

Geffrye Almhouses, now home to the new Home Galleries © Jayne Lloyd

A range of festivals, talks, events, performances, exhibitions and collaborations have already been pencilled in by the Museum. These will all support the new mission statement of actively engaging with the pressing issues of our time at the forefront of its programming.

Topics such as homelessness, immigration, mental health and the environment will all be given a platform when the site reopens. Arts Council England has also granted £147,000 to support the Museum’s new Studio. This investment will aim to help the organisation expand its public programming and engagement.

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