How to be a green visitor
8 February 2019 | 12:00 am

Fri, 8th Feb 2019

Recognised with a Green Tourism award and as a Green Flag Venue, we strive at the Horniman to be as environmentally friendly and energy efficient as possible. We’ve put together a guide to our improvements and a few tips on how you can be a greener visitor too.Arrive by public transport The Horniman is well served by public transport. Forest Hill station is part of the London Overground with regular direct trains from North, East and South East London. Direct trains also run from London Bridge and Victoria. You can also reach us easily by bus from Brixton, Lewisham, Streatham, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria Penge, Crystal Palace, Peckham, Catford, New Cross and Croydon. Visit our How to Get Here page to plan your journey. Water stationsWe’ve made it easy for our visitors to leave single-use plastics behind with our two water refill stations. We have a Victorian fountain located near the Bandstand and a modern refill point close to the main entrance. As part of the London Drinking Fountain Fund, it serves as one of 20 across the whole of London provided by #OneLess campaign and the Mayor of London. We also offer free water refills in the Café as part of the award-winning Refill campaign. Less than 30% of people in the UK drink water from a reusable bottle and refilling a reusable bottle is an easy way of reducing pollution to our environment. If you haven’t already invested in a refillable water bottle, we have some available in the shop. The proceeds go towards helping run the Horniman and it will help save you money in the long run. Recycling Have you spotted the recycling points around the Gardens?  They are situated near the Bandstand, if you’re having a picnic or using the eating spaces, you can leave your recyclable rubbish here. Below is a map of where the recycle points are located.We also take recycling seriously, and there are many ways the Horniman makes use of the waste generated through the museum.The waste produced by the Horniman Café is also composted using an on-site Ridan composter. This produces a mulch we use to feed the Garden’s plants. The Café also has a wonderful range of 19 items supplied by Vegware. These products are made entirely from plants and commercially compostable materials. The range includes coffee cups, take-away boxes and straws. Did you know that around 187,000 litres of water from the Aquarium is reused to water the Gardens? Once any salt has been removed, the water waste product is perfect for the gardens vast selection of plants, but the impurities it contains would harm the sensitive sea life. Bring your own reusablesAlongside the reusable water bottles for sale in our Gift Shop, there are traveller coffee cups that reflect the Horniman’s collections. Take one of these or your own reusable cup to the Café for your coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Currently, we are looking for alternatives to the use of plastic carrier bags in the Shop. We encourage you to bring your own reusable shopping bag (you can also find these in the Shop). We have a 5p charge on our bags to support Project Coral, an innovative coral reproductive research project led by the Horniman Aquarium with international partners. Project Coral is helping to stimulate the reproduction of the world’s coral reefs, which could decline by 60 % within the next 20 years. Catch Project Corals breakthrough moments on our website or our YouTube channel. Locally sourced products Each week we hold our Horniman Farmers’ Market, which sells fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as organic meats and artisan breads from local independent producers. You can visit every Saturday in the Gardens. See the current stallholders here. The Café serves fair trade tea and coffee, locally sourced meat, free-range eggs and fish from sustainable sources, as well as local beer and cakes. You can see some of their fabulous cakes on our Instagram feed. Supporting local growers, makers and producers means that your food has less of a carbon footprint than those shipped from overseas, as well as the bonus of supporting local businesses.

Objects and memories of the end of empire
30 January 2019 | 12:00 am

Wed, 30th Jan 2019

Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp, Deputy Keeper of Anthropology, speaks about colonialism, the end of empire and the narratives it has formed for British life today. In April 2011, I was in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone when people celebrated 50 years of independence from British colonialism. The whole city was decked out in green, white and blue, the national colours of Sierra Leone. Women wove green white and blue into their hair, motorbike riders decorated their bikes with flags, and people were dressed ready to celebrate and party hard. Sierra Leone became independent on the 27th of April 1961. This was a largely peaceful event, although colonialism in Sierra Leone had itself been punctuated by violence.This got me thinking about how we in Britain remember the end of the British Empire. It was not so long ago. By the end of WWII, it was widely accepted that British colonialism would draw to a close and by the 1960s, the majority of Britain's colonies had become independent. Although memories of WWII continue to play an important public role, memories of colonialism are less visible. Yet the events that surrounded it continue to shape British life today. Although many people agree that the end of colonialism was an important moment in British history, it is certainly not something that is widely celebrated or publicly talked about much. In 2016, I started a research project looking at objects, letters, films and photographs collected during the end of the British Empire in Africa, sitting in museums across the UK. This means they were collected between about 1940 and 1980. When it became clear to the British government that colonialism was no longer sustainable after WWII, they encouraged ever more migration from Britain into the empire.When former British colonies, like Sierra Leone, became independent, many families with British citizenship, whether born in Britain or in Africa, chose to leave.Many left with the objects that were important to them. Some donated these objects to museums immediately, but most displayed them or stored them away in their homes. These collections have been offered to museums over the last 50 years, and I am interested in what they can tell us. Museum collections from the end of the empire were usually collected by British teachers, scientists, artists, missionaries, or academics, as well as colonial officers. These pieces often reflect everyday family life, but also reflect a moment of transformation.  For example, they contain items made for sale by artists involved in an increasingly established art scene, including known carvers, weavers, potters, textile dyers or painters.They also contain objects that reflect changing currencies of value. Such as religious or ceremonial objects that were sold. Items were possibly sold because they were no longer considered powerful or perhaps money held a different but greater form of power.I have also been looking at collections that reflect moments where the British Government attempted to forcefully contain resistance to colonialism. This includes the violent military campaign against Mau Mau fighters in the 1950s in Kenya, which involved the detention and torturing of Mau Mau suspects.What interests me is the way in which these objects often enable an understanding of the very complicated ways in which the end of empire was experienced and is remembered by those who lived through it. Sometimes these competing narratives make it very difficult to speak openly about this shared period in our history and to listen to those whose experience differs from our own. However, I do think we need to talk about it, to listen, and to understand the many ways our colonial past continues to affect our lives today. I hope that my research can help with that. Do you or your family have memories or collections from Africa at the end of empire?

Rituals and Food Across the Globe
28 January 2019 | 12:00 am

Mon, 28th Jan 2019

During January, we take on new habits to eat healthier or cut down on things like alcohol, but have you ever wondered what food habits and rituals happen in other countries? In the World Gallery, you can get to know the everyday rituals and ceremonies about food from across the continents through more than 3,000 objects and stories.Asia In Tibet, tea and tsampa have become so iconic that the act of mixing the ingredients has its own sign in Tibetan sign language. A main food source for Tibetan Nomads, salted yak butter tea and tsampa (roasted and ground barley), form a nutritious and revitalising porridge that can be prepared even in harsh weather conditions. For Tibetans living abroad, eating and preparing traditional food is a powerful link to their homeland. Watch Shapaley’s music video about the iconic food below.Africa The Mbendjele people of the Congo region are hunter-gathers that have existed in the Central African rainforest for 40,000 years. Hunter-gatherers live on whatever the land provides and do not farm or grow food themselves. The Mbendjele people believe that everyone is equal and live in a society that has no leaders, grand buildings or poverty. There is no word for ‘famine’ in their language as the forest provides every resource they need.The Tuareg people are a diverse group spread across Algeria, Liberia, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. They call themselves Kel Tagelmoust, "People of the Veil." To show hospitality, the Tuareg have a ceremony of serving tea to visitors, which is drunk before and after work. Sugar is mixed into the tea (usually black tea) and sometimes mint. Often two teapots are used to mix the tea and sugar, pouring it back and forth from one pot into the other. The tea is then served in small tea glasses. Three glasses of tea are usually drunk in succession, getting sweeter with each glass. The first one is bitter like life, the second one is sweet like love and the third is light like a breath of death.Oceania Across Polynesia, people share a similar understanding of mana as power, effectiveness and as prestige of divine origin. In Fiji, mana is often associated with chiefs and healers. Mana also exists within objects. Drinking Kava is a major rite in all rituals and when receiving honoured guests. There are strict rules for the preparation of the drink and it is drunk in order of rank at chiefly rituals. Kava is made from mixing the root of the Piper methysticum plant with water, in a special wooden bowl or tanoa. When drunk, kava produces feelings of calm and encourages contemplation and conversation. Kava has its own mana and is associated with the power of the land.Europe In villages across Poland, brown Polish bread is eaten with so many meals, it’s considered a national food. At New Year, ritual bread called Nowe Latko (New Summer) are baked in north-east Poland. These breads hang in prominent places in the home, such as a home altar, to promote prosperity in the New Year. The dough would show a householder surrounded by geese, set on a magical ring to protect against evil.In some places dough, cheese or gingerbread figures are made for special occasions. In the Zakopane area, Redyko┼éka cheese figures were given to family members when shepherds brought their flocks down from the mountains to the village.America Our final stop is in the Americas, where we see that the special relationship the Arctic people have with nature and animals. Providing essential energy to survive the extreme cold as food and as fuel for lamps, animal fat is one of the most important resources in the Artic.The bucket, pictured above, held blubber: fat from sea mammals. The decoration of carved whales, polar bears and seals shows thanks and respect to the hunted animals. The Inuit use every part of an animal and believe they possess special attributes, which enable them to survive the cold. Using the animal skins, women would use most of their time making clothing for the community.Have you heard of the cassava root? It’s a starchy vegetable native to Central and South America that grows steadily in the Amazon rainforest. The indigenous Waiwai eat lots of this vegetable but it has to be prepared properly, as it contains a poison called cyanide. This cassava grater pictured below was made and used by the Waiwai people. It takes a long time to make, as tiny sharp stones have to be placed in to small holes in the wood, and then sticky tree resin is applied to hold everything in place. Once the cassava has been grated, it is then placed in a squeezer to drain out the poisonous juices. Then the washed and dried cassava is used to make flour, which can be baked into large flatbreads.All over the world, there are many different customs and rituals that happen around food. What are some of yours? Learn more about everyday cultures in the World Gallery and on our YouTube channel. You can also download learning resources to help you navigate our World Gallery. 

Your messages in the World Gallery
23 January 2019 | 12:00 am

Wed, 23rd Jan 2019

In the World Gallery you can discover what it means to be human but we also ask what is important to you. We’ve rounded up some of the messages and thoughts visitors left across January. Have you left a wish, or said thank you on our Cloutie Tree? Below are a few of our visitors’ most recent messages.I wish for prosperity and positivity in 2019. Speak what you want in existence and believe that it will come true.I wish to get healthy again.I wish for a digger, a giraffe, and a pirate ship. Keep pushing on.   In January, many wish for wellbeing and set goals for the coming year. We’ve put together a guide to walking the Horniman, its architecture and some of the surprises in the Museum to help get your new year off to a great start.One visitor said, Daffodils remind me of my mum, water and they trumpet in the Gardens. Daffodils will certainly be back in the Gardens in a few weeks and from 28 January, the Gardens will be open until 5.20pm.Carmen wishes for peace and freedom for Venezuela.It was Penguin Awareness Day on 20 January and one visitor has drawn a lovely pair of penguins. You can keep up with up to date news and facts on our twitter feed.One visitor lost their Johnny Rocket necklace with their son's name and D.O.B on it in Crete. We hope it finds its way back to you.And happy 40th birthday to Katie, who drew this shark. Keep sharing your thoughts and drawings with us in the World Gallery and you may be featured on the blog.

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