top of page
  • Writer's picturemaxwell museums

Horniman Museum awarded £6m for 'nature' focussed redevelopment

The Horniman Museum and Gardens in South London has been awarded £5.7m by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, for a "once-in-a-generation" project all about embracing the natural world.

The £10million Nature + Love initiative — which aims to celebrate and foster a love of nature, both inside and outside the museum — will redevelop three areas of the venue, including the historic Natural History Gallery, home to the much-loved overstuffed taxidermy walrus.

This gallery was built in 1901, and the lottery money will help upgrade the fabric of the Grade II listed building to improve accessibility and improve environmental conditions. The gallery's displays will also be redesigned to explore human impacts on the planet. Adjacent will be an 'Action Zone' focused on local wildlife with interactive elements designed for families with young children.

The Horniman Museum building with prominent clock tower. There are blue skies
The Horniman Museum and Gardens. Photo: @maxwellmuseums

The other locations to be developed are under-used areas of the museum's gardens.

In the Nature Explorers Adventure Zone, the disused model boating pond will be transformed into a natural play area, inspired by local wildlife and designed to encourage young children’s engagement with and love for nature. Step-free access to the Nature Trail will be introduced for the first time.

In the Sustainable Gardening Zone, the under-used South Downs area of the Gardens will be transformed into a Winter Garden, with adjacent glasshouses housing a plant nursery and community facilities focused on sustainable gardening, health and wellbeing.

Nick Merriman, Chief Executive and Director of Content at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, said: "We want to thank the Heritage Fund for giving our Nature + Love project their approval.

"Without their support it would not be possible to bring our plans to reality. Now, thanks to the Heritage Fund, we can 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."

The funding award was agreed at the Heritage Fund’s June committee meeting. The Horniman previously received Stage 1 development funding of £475,000 from the Heritage Fund, to develop the Nature + Love.

The museum — which was awarded Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2022 — is now fundraising to raise the rest of the money needed to complete the expansive project. But it already has a pledge of £1.4m from the Department for Digital, 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.

Stuart McLeod, Director of England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "We’re thrilled that thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we have been able to continue to support the Horniman with this once-in-a-generation project. 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."

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: "The Horniman is one of our best-loved public museums thanks to its collection of fascinating treasures from around the world.

"I am delighted that both the Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund have been able to support this wonderful institution as it encourages children and adults alike to cherish and protect our natural world. I hope that this redevelopment will inspire and be enjoyed by generations to come."

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

Get the latest exhibition news in your inbox by subscribing to the maxwell museums newsletter

bottom of page