London’s Geffrye Museum of the Home revealed a new name and identity this week as it prepares to reopen next summer following an £18.1m redevelopment.
The venue is dropping Geffrye from its title and is now called the Museum of the Home. The museum was named after Robert Geffrye, the former Lord Mayor of London who built the almshouses that still stand on the site today.
“We very much see the new identity as an evolution,” said Sonia Solicari, the director of the Museum of the Home. “The museum has gone through various incarnations since it opened and we have been the Geffrye Museum of the Home since 2007, when the museum started to think of itself as having a much broader remit.”
Solicari said the new brand should be much clearer for visitors, who often struggled to understand who Geffrye was. There will also be more emphasis placed on the story of the almshouses.
New exhibition spaces called the Home Galleries are being created in the lower ground floor of the almshouses. These displays will explore people’s everyday experiences of home life over the past 400 years.
“We are really excited about the new Home Galleries, which are much more thematic,” Solicari said. “Everyone has an idea of what a home means to them, whether that is positive or negative, and we will be telling both sides of the story.”
Solicari said the approach to the redevelopment has been driven by audiences and will broaden the museum’s appeal to better reflect the diversity of those who live locally.
There will also be a stronger focus on contemporary programming that will see emerging and established artists, designers and performers create new works that reflect the theme of home. The first commission of summer 2020 will be an immersive sound installation by Belfast-born writer Maria Fusco.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has given £12.3m to the project and the museum has just launched an online funding campaign to raise the £600,000 its needs to reach its £18.1m target.
The redevelopment was designed by Wright & Wright Architects.