London’s museums would be a poorer place without the Victorian collectors who assembled items on their worldwide travels and shared their treasures with the public. One such Victorian gentleman, Frederick John Horniman, opened his private collection to the people of London. These items from Asia, Africa and the Americas formed the heart of the Horniman Museum.
Unlike many of London’s museums, the Horniman Museum is not in central London. Instead, the museum sits in the south London neighbourhood of Forest Hill, making it an easy destination for local families to learn, relax and have fun. Weekends see the adjoining Gardens and outdoor cafe full of boisterous kids (and parents enjoying a glass of wine).
Perhaps the most famous resident of the museum is the overstuffed walrus. The story goes that when the walrus first arrived at the Horniman over a century ago, the taxidermists didn’t realise that walruses had wrinkly skin, so instead they stuffed the walrus to gigantic proportions. Although it may looks a tad silly now, the overstuffed walrus shows just how valuable museums like the Horniman were in introducing the world to the people of Victorian London.