Headdress for a telek dance costume made by Pak Redha, Batuan, Bali, contemporary. Horniman Museum number: 2012.79.2
The Horniman Museum and Gardens opened in 1901 as a gift to the people of south London from tea trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman. Today, the Horniman hosts collections from around the globe. Its galleries include natural history, anthropology, musical instruments and an acclaimed aquarium which currently hosts pioneering research into coral reproduction. The indoor displays link to the award-winning gardens – from food and dye gardens to an interactive sound garden – set among 16 acres of beautiful, green space offering spectacular views across London. The Horniman’s designated anthropology collection of more than 80,000 objects from all over the world is one of the most significant in the country.
The particular importance of the Horniman collection lies in its commitment to field collecting and in-depth research in collaboration with anthropologists, together with a focus on daily life and on the cultural contexts that brought these objects into being and gave them meaning.
The musical instrument collection is the largest in the UK, and the most comprehensive in terms of the number of musical traditions that it represents. Numbering over 9,500 objects made to produce sound, it has designated status, like the anthropology collection, signifying its national and international importance. It has a wide-ranging geographical and time span, from archaeological material of ancient Egypt to synthesizers and computers used in late 20th century music. The Museum holds notable collections of Asian and African instruments, as well as historic wind and stringed instruments of European art music. The Horniman aims to acquire video and sound recordings for each new instrument, to illustrate aspects of its performance technique, manufacture and cultural contexts for performance.
The Horniman’s natural history collection contains over 250,000 specimens of local, national and worldwide origin.
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