Chocolate Museum seeks new home as London rents bite - Museums Association

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Chocolate Museum seeks new home as London rents bite

Brixton organisation is looking to find a space in an existing museum or gallery
Food
An 18th-century chocolate-cup and saucer is one of the objects in the museum's collection
An 18th-century chocolate-cup and saucer is one of the objects in the museum's collection Chocolate Museum

The Chocolate Museum is searching for a new premises after being hit with a rent increase at its current home in Brixton, south London.

The privately run museum, which was established in 2012 by chocolatier Isabelle Alaya, has an extensive collection of objects that trace the history of chocolate in Britain and internationally. It has an exhibition featuring ancient Mayan objects, 18th-century chinaware, and factory tools, molds and advertising materials from British chocolate manufacturers.  

The collection can be used to tell a wide variety of histories, said Alaya, from technological advancement and social change, to the Transatlantic slave trade and colonialism.

The museum runs a programme of hands-on workshops for schools designed around national curriculum learning targets.

Although it was self-sustaining before the pandemic, the museum saw its activity drop by 50% during Covid and is unable to afford the upcoming rate hike.  

The museum is coming to the end of its lease in February 2023 but is hoping to be able to stay at its current property until the end of the next school year. It will be at risk of closure if it cannot find a new premises after that.

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Alaya said she would like to find a space for the exhibition and workshop programme in an existing museum or gallery, particularly in or not far from London. “What I have in mind is integrating it into an existing museum who might think that the Chocolate Museum would complete their space,” she said.

Alaya said she would need to remain involved in the museum initially as the activities it runs require specialised knowledge.

Alaya is keen to secure the museum’s future as she approaches retirement. “Being acquired for the future would be ideal,” she said.

The museum activities are particularly popular with young children, she said. “They usually leave thinking it's the best museum in the world!”

Email info@thechocolatemuseum.co.uk for further information.

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