The Horniman Museum exists thanks to the avid collecting of tea trader Frederick John Horniman, who in the 1860s began accumulating musical instruments and historical specimens. Within a few years he had run out of storage space in his home and the Horniman Museum was opened in 1901. Today, Horniman’s original collections make up only 10% of the items on display.
The museum is home to over 80,000 items of archaeological importance from all over the world. Here you will find African masks from Yoruba, Indian costumes and headdresses from Samoan tribes. The museum also has an extensive natural history collection which includes pressed plants, fossils, skeletons, preserved insects and taxidermy mounts. The aquarium contains 15 different displays that replicate the rainforest, a Fijian reef and a mangrove among others.
Music lovers will want to check out the musical instrument collection which contains around 7,000 objects that date from around 1,500 BC to the present day, from Egyptian bone instruments to electronic synthesizers.
The museum is open every day from 10.30 to 5.30 and admission is free.