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Home Galleries

The word home has many meanings.

It can be the physical space we live in or a feeling that goes beyond a specific time or place.

In the Home Galleries we will explore the concept of home through people’s everyday experiences of making, keeping and being at home over the last 400 years. 

There is a real mix of contemporary and historical stories in this space, and there are interactive elements. 

All I want is a room somewhere © Jonathan Donovan. Nizar, Fatemi and their two daughters lived with and cared for Pat, who had dementia. Leytonstone, September 2016 All I want is a room somewhere © Jonathan Donovan. Nizar, Fatemi and their two daughters lived with and cared for Pat, who had dementia. Leytonstone, September 2016

How we make our homes

We explore how we come to acquire the things that make up our homes and the hidden stories they reveal. The choices we make about the things we keep around us say a lot about our taste and identity. We explore different choices available at different times.

Making home

Jodie in her home, former housing for the elderly in Charlton © Victoria Birkinshaw Jodie in her home, former housing for the elderly in Charlton © Victoria Birkinshaw


Exploring some of the many different ways homes are made.

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Bought, found, given

The original owner of green lustres (on display) Harriet Stanton with her daughters The original owner of green lustres (on display) Harriet Stanton with her daughters


Revealing the memories and emotions behind our heirlooms, scavenged treasures and lucky finds.

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Shelf Life

Farhana and her daughter in their home in Wapping Housing Estate, Tower Hamlets Farhana and her daughter in their home in Wapping Housing Estate, Tower Hamlets


A film exploring how east London residents express their identities through the things they display.

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Style and taste

Portrait of Bell and Dorothy Freeman, by Edward Robert Hughes, 1889 Portrait of Bell and Dorothy Freeman, by Edward Robert Hughes, 1889


Unpicking if our homes define who we are and how we are seen by others.

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How we look after our homes

We consider the business of maintaining our homes and gardens, and how this has changed over time. We trace change, continuity and resistance to new technologies and practices.

We investigate the labour involved in keeping a household, whether it’s getting rid of bedbugs or using oxen’s gallbladder to clean carpets.

Housework

A man in bedclothes prising insects (?) off his bed-curtains with a fork into a saucepan. Etching by T.L. Busby, c. 1826. CC BY 4.0 A man in bedclothes prising insects (?) off his bed-curtains with a fork into a saucepan. Etching by T.L. Busby, c. 1826. CC BY 4.0 Wellcome Collection


Focusing on the labour of keeping homes clean, overworked servants, inventions and gender protest.

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In the garden

Beryl M seated in a folding chair in her garden © Sophie Verhagen Beryl M seated in a folding chair in her garden © Sophie Verhagen


All about finding solace and comfort from outside space.

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How we relax and spend time at home

We reveal how people spend time at home. We begin with the idea of comfort and feeling at home, and how this can be disrupted, particularly through loss or illness.

We explore leisure from music-making and broadcast entertainment, dining and socialising to children’s play. And we consider devotional practice within the home.

Comfort

Interior of a parlour, John Soden, 1862 Interior of a parlour, John Soden, 1862 Object number 39/2004


How our ideas of comfort have changed, including lighting and furniture.

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Faith

Rajahan B in Tower Hamlets © Sophie Verhagen Rajahan B in Tower Hamlets © Sophie Verhagen


How for many home is a place to pray, to celebrate festivals, to express religious identity.

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Love and loss

Portrait of L from the Growing Care series © Kyna Gourley Portrait of L from the Growing Care series © Kyna Gourley


How positive and negative relationships at home can build or disrupt our sense of comfort and belonging.

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Entertainment

Maggie H’s granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law, playing a game in her home in Exmouth Maggie H’s granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law, playing a game in her home in Exmouth


How our leisure time at home has evolved, with devices changing the way we interact with each other.

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Table Talk

Take a seat at our kitchen table and tell us your thoughts and opinions about home.

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