Good news for fans of east London’s Geffrye Museum, which has today announced it’s to reopen to the public next summer and thus present the much-anticipated results of its two year redevelopment project. The popular Hoxton haunt also reveals a rebrand, officially dropping the ‘Geffrye’ moniker in favour of the simpler ‘Museum of the Home’ – an identity which the institution hopes will provide potential visitors with a clearer vision of what’s housed within.
Dedicated to the home’s interior heritage, the museum occupies an elegant complex of Grade I-listed 18th-century almshouses set back from a busy east London street by a square of green lawn, which has played host to regular events since doors closed to the public in January 2018. Crucially, the revamped museum will utilise a doubled exhibition space to display more of the museum’s centuries-spanning collection. Among its additions are a new Studio, Learning Pavilion, street-facing café and entrance via the station, as well as a Collections Library which will grant public access to the museum’s extensive archive for the first time. Access to the existing garden will now be year-round, and a new eco-friendly garden on the rooftop will provide extra green space.
Though the popular period parade ‘Rooms Through Time’ will remain, it’s to be joined by new permanent displays and a commitment to showcasing an increasing breadth of ‘contemporary and diverse perspectives’. A refreshed programme of festivals, talks, events, performances and collaborations promises to confront topical issues like homelessness, immigration, mental health, and the environment – up first is an immersive sound installation by Belfast-born writer Maria Fusco, who will tackle themes of materiality and absence.
The renovation was masterminded by London firm Wright & Wright Architects, who specialise in careful conversions of historic buildings, and funded via contributions from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England alongside a tireless public campaign (a final £600k is still being sought).
‘Our new displays, spaces and stories will be a starting point for ideas and conversation about what home means,’ says museum director Sonia Solicari. ‘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.’ See you in Hoxton. museumofthehome.org.uk
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