The Horniman Museum and Gardens has launched a project to help its audiences better appreciate the natural world, following a £5.7m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The money will support the Nature + Love initiative, which will redevelop three areas of the south London venue, both inside the museum and in its gardens.
In the Natural History Gallery, built in 1901, the fabric of the Grade II-listed building will be upgraded to improve accessibility and the gallery environment. Displays will be redesigned to explore human understanding of and impact on the planet and an area focusing on local wildlife designed for families with young children will be created in a space adjacent to the gallery.
The Nature + Love project involves the redevelopment of a disused model boating pond into a natural play area, while another underused area of the gardens will be transformed into a Winter Garden, with adjacent glasshouses housing a plant nursery and community facilities focused on sustainable gardening, health and wellbeing.
Nick Merriman, chief executive and director of content at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: "We want to thank the Heritage Fund for giving our Nature + Love project its approval. Without its support it would not be possible to bring our plans to reality. Now, thanks to the Heritage Fund, we can look forward to creating three new and exciting destinations for our visitors, and to fostering the next generation’s love and care for the natural world."
The Nature + Love plans have been developed by architect Feilden Fowles working in collaboration with landscape architect J&L Gibbons. The indoor gallery display is being created by exhibition designer Studio MB.
A key aspect of Nature + Love will be the focus on environmental measures that are in line with the Horniman’s Climate and Ecology Manifesto. This will include using rainfall capture system in the gardens and refitting historic display cases in the Natural History Gallery.
The Horniman is approaching other funding bodies and inviting individual donors to support Nature + Love, which will cost just over £10m in total. It already has a pledge of £1.4m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and a grant of £250,000 from the Foyle Foundation. It has raised £200,000 so far from trustees and other individual donors.
The Nature + Love redevelopments, which are subject to planning, are due to begin in 2024.