Here is a selection of ten free exhibitions to visit while dodging random bursts of heavy rain in the summer months.

At Home in Hackney: A community photographed 1970-today

Hackney Museum, Hackney


(Note closes Saturday 15th June 2024)

From 1970s activism to the current party scene, the exhibition displays five decades of Hackney life through a camera lens.

Details here


Chelsea Barracks

Chelsea Barracks presents the inaugural edition of public art initiative ‘Modern Masters’, a free outdoor programme of contemporary art showcasing a selection of works by renowned American artist Dale Chihuly.

Details here

Storyteller: Photography by Tim Hetherington

Imperial War Museum, Lambeth

Storyteller marks the 13th anniversary of Hetherington’s death while filming and photographing the Libyan Civil War (2011). With photography from across his career and a selection of his cameras and diaries on display, you can also immerse yourself in his film Sleeping Soldiers, shown across three screens as it was intended to be viewed.

Details here

Beryl Cook / Tom of Finland

Studio Voltaire, Clapham

At Studio Voltaire, fleshly excesses are explored in pairings that underscore their works as playful and political. In pairing their work, including archival materials which have never been seen by the public, this two-person presentation will provide a significant refocus and reveal interconnected ideas surrounding gender, sexuality, taste and class.

Details here

Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945

National Army Museum, Chelsea

This exhibition follows the lives of soldiers in Germany over the past 75 years. It looks at the changing relationship between Britain and Germany and charts the gradual transition from foe to friend.

Details here

The Last Caravaggio

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

This exhibition presents an opportunity to explore Caravaggio’s late paintings, the representation of violence in his work, and to reflect on violence in our own times. The programming and activity around this project will shed light on the figure of Saint Ursula, allowing visitors to explore her story. The narratives of male violence in Caravaggio’s paintings will also be examined.

Details here

Simon Wheatley – Silverlink

Leica Gallery, Mayfair

Between 1998 to 2010 Simon Wheatley photographed the overland train service he first encountered as The North London Line, which then became Silverlink after its privatisation.

Details here

Tea (Chá, Chai, Tea)

Horniman Museum, Forest Hill

The exhibition explores tea’s complex history and myriad of meanings – from its popularisation and globalisation connected to stories of imperialism and colonial violence, to inspiring artistic expression, cultural customs and national identities, it is simultaneously deeply personal and political.

Details here

From the Caribbean to Coventry – Plotting the Rise of Two Tone

Barbican Library, City of London

This exhibition features a range of band memorabilia, items of clothing, literature, art, photographs, and contributions from the bands’ many fans, and explore how Caribbean immigration influenced UK youth culture in a positive way.

Details here

Making More Mischief: Folk Costume in Britain

UAL: London College of Fashion, Stratford

Traditions such as London’s carnivals, Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race, Swan Upping and Somali May Day traditions come together in Making More Mischief unified through the shared values of folk dress rooted in identity, non-conformity and subversiveness.

Details here


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