South London’s Horniman Museum has been awarded £5.7 million towards the cost of a significant redevelopment they are planning. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided the funding. That covers just over half of the estimated £10 million cost of the project, which will revamp three parts of its estate, most notably the historic Natural History Gallery, home to the much-loved Horniman walrus.
In the Natural History Gallery, built in 1901, the fabric of the Grade II listed building will be upgraded to improve accessibility and to future-proof the gallery environment for decades to come. The historic showcases will be refitted to better protect exhibits while retaining much of the look and feel of the famous gallery space.
Adjacent to the gallery will be a new Action Zone focused on local wildlife with interactive elements designed for families with young children.
The rest of the project will open up currently under-used areas of the Gardens.
In the Nature Explorers Adventure Zone, the disused model boating pond will be transformed into a natural play area. In contrast, 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.
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 and inviting individual donors to support the project, which will cost just over £10m in total. It already has a pledge of £1.4m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a substantial grant of £250,000 from the Foyle Foundation and has raised £200,000 so far from Trustees and a number of generous individual donors.
That leaves them with just under £2.5 million to raise.
The redevelopments, which are subject to planning, are due to begin in 2024.