Museum Of The Home
- Get transported back to a bygone era at the Museum of the Home and see how London's living spaces would have looked 400 years ago for free.
- Learn all about home life from 1600 to the present day and unearth the story of this fascinating museum.
- Set in 18th-century almshouse buildings, immerse yourself in a series of period rooms which are on display at the museum.
- Take a stroll in the award-winning herb garden and discover how gardens have changed through times.
The Museum of the Home explores the home from 1600 to the present day through reminiscent exhibits of urban living rooms and gardens. One of the most fascinating free and intimate museums in London, the Museum of the Home is situated at the Geffrye Almshouses in Hoxton, East London. Formerly known as the Geffrye Museum, The Museum of the Home transports mini historians back to the bygone era.
For the last 300 years, the Museum of the home has been housed in the almshouses, which are charitable housing provided to people in need. Built in 1714, Sir Robert Geffrye, the Lord Mayor of London, a slave trader and a wealthy Cornish merchant, donated the money for the almshouses to be built. There is a statue of Geffrye set into the museum building, which reflects the connection the museum buildings have to Geffrye and there has been much debate within the museum about what the statue embodies today. Geffrye made part of his money from the transatlantic slave trade and by his involvement in the exploitative Royal African Company and East India Company. Although Geffrye isn't connected to the founding of the Museum of the Home or any of its collections, the museum acknowledges the legacy of slavery within its history.
The London County Council bought the museum and gardens in 1911, and one of their main reasons of the purchase was to save the outdoor space, which represented 14% of all open space in the densely populated Shoreditch. The Geffrye Museum was opened to members of the public on 2 April 1914. Since its opening, the focus of the Hoxton museum has changed throughout its history. In the last few decades, there has been an extra wing added with spaces for exhibitions and learning and 20th century period rooms. In the late 1990s, the period and herb gardens were opened to the public.
The brilliant home museum is the ideal place to think about the ways in which we have lived in the past, and to explore new creative ideas about brand-new and modern ways of living in the world today. Come and explore the creative exhibitions and displays filled with fascinating objects from the home across the ages, and debate what home means to you and your family. Take a peek at a series of eleven period rooms, where you will journey through time from the 17th-century through to the Georgian period, and the Victorian era right up until the 20th-century with its modernity and contemporary living. Unearth how the middle-class Victorians furnished their living rooms and sit back and get comfy (or not!) in one of the replica chairs. Listen to personal and thought-provoking stories of the home, and discover the history of the Geffrye Almshouses and the people who lived here, through displays, tours and talks. There is also a collections library available to visitors as well as an informal reading room. Explore the award-winning programme and activities available for people of all ages in the pavilion.
Venture outside the museum and enjoy looking around the award-winning herb gardens. See how the city outdoor spaces have developed over the centuries. From the Tudor Knot garden with its evergreen hedging to a Georgian garden with its clipped box, a Victorian garden with its brightly-coloured flowers to the Edwardian garden with old-fashioned plants, the Museum of the Home garden is an oasis in the heart of the city. There is even a green roof garden, which is filled with plants.
The Museum of the Home is an enjoyable and educational experience for all!
Whilst you are in the area, Hackney City Farm is worth visiting and is home to pigs, donkeys, goats, rabbits and chickens. It's just a 12-minute walk away. The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is great for kids with an extraordinary collection including Britain's oldest rocking horses.
What to know before you go
- The museum is closed until early 2021 for a major redevelopment.
- There are tours available from 11am to 4pm at the Museum of the Home. No booking is required.
- There is an audio commentary guide available as you walkthrough the museum.
- There is an accessible toilet available and baby-changing facilities available at the museum.
- It is possible to take your buggy inside the home museum.
- There is wheelchair access to the museum, with an accessible lift inside the building. There are wheelchairs available to borrow free of charge.
- Assistance dogs are welcome inside the Museum of the Home.
- Enjoy browsing the gift shop, where you can find a variety of interesting treats.
- There is an on-site street-facing cafe with a terrace at the corner of Geffrye Street and Cremer Street. There are loads of nice places to eat in the creative and lively Hoxton area. Dishoom Shoreditch on Boundary Street is a short walk away and has a great children's menu.
- The closest station is Hoxton, which is directly opposite the Museum of London. It is served by the London Overground line. Hoxton rail station is zone 1+2 in London.
- Liverpool Street Tube and railway station, served by West Anglia main line and the Great Eastern main line, and the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, is a 22-minute walk away. From here take the 242 or 149 bus straight to the museum. Old Street Tube station, served by the Northern line, is a 15-minute walk away. From here take the 243 bus to the museum.
- Buses that stop at the Hoxton Station Geffrye Museum stop (stop KN) are routes 149, 242, 243 and 394.
- If you are coming by car, City Car Parks and Storage on Crondall Street is a four-minute walk away. NCP London Finsbury Square car park is a 20-minute walk away from the museum.