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Revealing and rethinking our home

The Museum of the Home is housed in almshouses built in 1714. The money to build them came from Sir Robert Geffrye who amassed a large fortune, partly from his active investment in the forced labour and trading of enslaved Africans.

There is a statue of Geffrye on the almshouse building, there is a monument to him in the chapel and he is buried in the almshouse graveyard.

The continued veneration of him is deeply painful for many people, including members of our local community, our visitors, our partners, and our staff.

We want to be open and honest about the legacy of our buildings

A history of Geffrye's fortune

The profits Geffrye made from his investments in transatlantic slavery were very likely sufficient to fund his legacy to build the almshouses that now house the Museum.

Read how he made his money

How Geffrye has been acknowledged across the historical site

There are multiple ways in which Geffrye's donation is acknowledged on the site; with a statue, monument, and his tomb.

Read about these

Current position of the board

In July 2020 the Board of Trustees of the Museum decided to keep and explain the statue of Geffrye in its current position. 

Read about the decision

We want to continually rethink how we use the buildings

One of the ways we can do this is by telling a more diverse story of the British Home through permanent displays and programming. We have made progress but there is lots more to do.

Creative programming

Waiting For Myself To Appear (1)

Waiting for myself to appear

This is a new film commission by Michael McMillan exploring ideas around black women's identity, gender, diaspora migration and home. It is written and directed by Michael McMillan, performed by Esther Niles with music and visuals from the multidisciplinary duo Dubmorphology.

Waiting for myself to appear
Bearers of Home

Bearers of Home

Bearers of Home is a new artist commission by BLKBRD Collective. These five double-sided banners, set on the Kingsland Road gardens, are a statement: a commitment to Hackney, London and the world that we bear witness to the many voices that make a home, a community and a society.

Bearers of Home
What Has Happened To Gus (1)

Rhymes Through Time

Rhymes Through Time is a multi-artwork installation created by children’s poet Valerie Bloom MBE and illustrator-as-historian Kremena Dimitrova. It explores diverse histories of home for a family audience through a combination of poetry and interactive design.

Rhymes Through Time

Permanent displays

A selection of photographs of people set against colourful backgrounds

Home Galleries

Our new Home Galleries tell a more diverse story of home and home life, with a focus on personal stories. The ambition has been to create a welcoming space for all. The galleries are wheelchair-accessible, with BSL-interpreted film content. Feedback spaces hope to capture missing voices, to drive change and development.

Home Galleries
Room with brown leather style sofa, lace decorations, radiogram, yellow wallpaper and floral carpet

1970s Front Room

Artist Michael McMillan has created a new permanent version of the West Indian Front Room to replace the existing 1960s room. West Indian Front Room was one of the most popular exhibitions ever staged at the Museum. The new room will be accompanied by an events programme throughout 2021/22 and beyond.

A front room in 1970
Museum Exterior Archive

Collections display

A selection of the Museum's extensive library and archive. With information about Geffrye's fortune and the triangular trade of enslaved Africans. It also covers life as an almshouse resident and objects found during the recent redevelopment.

Ways of working

Homes Through Time Redux

There are many stories and voices missing from our Rooms and Gardens Through Time. We are working with our visitors and communities to understand what the rooms and gardens could look like if we were to rethink who they are about. We are appointing 8 community authors to lead this rethink.

Homes Through Time Redux

Collecting in new ways

In order to redress gaps in our collections we are prioritising the migratory and marginalised experience and working with our community. We will collect and tell the stories that are missing from our collection as part of the Homes Through Time Redux.

Collecting in new ways

We want to make real and lasting change

Achieve a workforce that's representative of modern London by 2025. And transform working practices to enable change.

Read more