Generations of children and adults have learnt so much from this remarkable place set in southeast London not far from Dulwich Park. Nowadays we frown on the collection of stuffed animals and birds in the museum, but to the early Victorians who did not have photography or anything like it, it was fascinating. Most people had never been out of their area and certainly not abroad, so this must have been quite stunning to them at the time. A lot of the rich Victorians had cases full of stuffed birds to show off their wealth. But Fredrick John Horniman did it for a different reason, collecting and cataloguing thousands of items, for everyone to see. It was his gift of education to the people, his love of Natural History, musical instruments and arts & crafts from every part of the globe. Here is the Museum's clock tower and a unique clock inside.
This is just a bit of the massive musical instrument collection and a walrus that has been there as long as anyone can remember.
Red Foxes are on display and the second picture gives us a look over a bit of the Natural History section. The fossils are on this top floor.
The collection of birds is amazing, this is one small portion of them. They are often used by schools, colleges, universities as well as the public. The entire museum is large and contains untold items from all over the world.
The Gardens are a unique area of 16 acres of award-winning, beautifully maintained formal and natural landscapes, from sunken gardens, a Tea Clipper Rose garden, herbaceous borders, to enchanting wildflower displays, a Nature Trail and a number of unique sundials. There is a medicinal garden, allotment and food garden, plus a roof garden to go with the environmental aims and educational beliefs of the museum. There is also an animal enclosure that is open to the public. Looking up to a bit of the roof garden, a sundial is present here in front of the purple Japanese maple. On the right is a Horse Chestnut with a lilac to the left.
This is both sides of the medicinal garden with plants from around the world and their medicinal uses.
Here we see the formal garden with a Wisteria and a purple maple. In the picture on the right, a Rhododendron can be seen.
The other side and center of the formal garden.
A beautiful poppy and a Rhododendron bloom in the garden.
A lovely Iris blooms and near it we see Ophipogon planiscapus nigrescens.
Although a bit early yet, here is looking up the herbaceous border and the other picture is looking down a bit of it.
Although the gardens have many beautiful tees, two stand out to me. A Lebanese cedar or Cedrus libani and a blue cedar or Cedrus atlantica glauca.
The Cafe with its 'Green Roof' overlooks the Victorian conservatory. A museum shop also sells books, gifts etc.
A dry area full of grasses in front of the cafe with a Ceanothus in the distance and then a view of the Ceanothus from behind.
Rhododendrons in the gardens.
The museum also has a renowned Aquarium where you start under the sea and work up toward the top where you are on the beach.
Here is a Chusan or windwmill palm, Tracyhcarpus fortuneii and a little Alium by the main gates.
It is strange how everyone was sent to see the museum when we were at school, then did not go back to see this gorgeous place till they were adults. But like most things in your own area, you do not think about it. That's the way it was for me until my University sent a lot of students there to study. My mother took my nieces there and was full of praise for it but I did not know what to expect yesterday! One thing I do know, I was glad I went and was very impressed. The grant they got has been well spent and the gardens are lovely and extremely well kept. The educational and environmental facilities are stunning and that surely in this day and age is the only way forward.
Just to remind you as you go to walk out; this is just one of many thousands of things that have gone extinct, due to us Humans.
For those who so wish here is a virtual tour of the gardens:
Thank you for joining me on this brief tour of the Museum, it is too large and contains so many incredible things to do one article on it.