Museums

Discover some of the world's best museums and exhibitions

10 museum exhibitions we can’t wait to see in 2017
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10 museum exhibitions we can’t wait to see in 2017

2017 is going to be a golden year for exhibitions in London museums. Here's why

14 weird but wonderful London museums
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14 weird but wonderful London museums

Beautiful buildings, curious curators and extraordinary exhibits for you to discover

Free museums in London
Museums

Free museums in London

No money? No problem

Seven wonders of the British Museum
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Seven wonders of the British Museum

Every single object has a story to tell – cut to the chase with our seven favourite

Upcoming museum exhibitions in London

Out of the Fire
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Out of the Fire

This exhibition explores St Paul's Cathedral before, during and after The Great Fire of London. The blaze which consumed the London landmark 350 years ago was rebuilt to designs made by Christopher Wren after the flames tore through it. Here you can discover objects that survived the fire, follow a family trail or join a tour and find out how the heat make the cathedral's stones explode like grenades.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Teenage Bedrooms
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Teenage Bedrooms

Amazing curator Carey Newsom persuaded 26 teenagers to let a photographer document their bedrooms: now you're invited in to see the results at this exhibition on the museum's concourse. Like homes inside of homes, each room reflects the person who created it, as well as commenting on how how teenagers handle the new privacy created by social media, smartphone tech - and the surprising resurgence of letters and vinyl. 

Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered
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Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered

A showcase of board games that'll be sure to have you reminiscing about rainy days spent competing with your siblings. Over 100 objects will be on display featuring games from across the globe and some of the most iconic examples from the V&A's collection. Favourites such as Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly will also be included and a number of hands-on activiities will give visitors the chance to become part of the gaming action.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Memorial. A Tribute to Taxidermy
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Memorial. A Tribute to Taxidermy

Learn how birds and animals go from the wild into museums in this exhibition by Jazmine Miles-Long, a London taxidermist. 

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Must-see museum exhibitions in London

Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London
Art

Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London

Lockwood Kipling – father of poet Rudyard – was one of those quintessentially Victorian jack-of-all-trades. An artist, designer, sculptor, teacher, curator and champion of the Arts and Crafts movement, he is largely responsible for the V&A's glittering collection of Indian cultural artefacts. This show will look at his remarkable legacy.  

Hair by Sam McKnight
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Hair by Sam McKnight

It’s a well-known trick that if you get a facelift and you want it to remain a secret, you should get a haircut at the same time because then everyone will attribute your fresh face to your new ’do – such is the transformative power of hair. 

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Making Nature: How we See Animals
Art

Making Nature: How we See Animals

Mental asylums. Mind-altering drugs. Dirt. The Wellcome Collection has carved out a rep for delivering exhibitions that are outlandish without ever being sensationalist. And while the premise of their latest show – the relationship between humans and animals – might not have the same WTF factor, it’s still just as quirky and enthralling.  The first room kicks off with the Enlightenment-era craze for natural classification. On display is Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus’s ‘Systema Naturae’ from 1735, which listed and filed the animal kingdom, humankind included (albeit as a kind of exception to the rule: this was pre-Darwin). So is Charles Bonnet’s ‘Scale of Natural Being’ from 1783, a league table of best to worst in which humans, naturally, come out top. Older manuscripts show delightfully crap engravings of camel-like beasts the size of houses. Rooms two and three focus on our urge to observe and display animals. Maquettes of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs – the first ever models of an extinct species – show us a Victorian wonder of the big bad lizards that’s never waned since. Dioramas of taxidermied foxes, intended to place them in their natural habitats, seem hopelessly twee and antiquated. Mind you, so do modernist architect Hugh Casson’s early-’60s designs for a radical new type of elephant house. They might replace the painted fakery with concrete, but ultimate still treat the poor pachyderm as little more than a circus spectacle. These are historical curios, but the

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear
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Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear

The V&A is a victim of its own success. Ever since the Alexander McQueen exhibition ‘Savage Beauty’, with its drama, tragedy and preposterous gorgeousness, the bar for their fashion exhibitions has been set impossibly high. While this is not another ‘Savage Beauty’, it is a thoughtful and interesting show. ‘Undressed’ tells the story of undies from the eighteenth century to more recent times. It reveals the ingenuity of underwear, from the missing bones at the back of crinolines which allowed women to sit, to corsets designed for horseriding – forerunners to the sports bra. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Flaming June: The Making Of An Icon
Art

Flaming June: The Making Of An Icon

No one liked Victorian art in the 1960s, when Sir Frederic Leighton’s masterpiece ‘Flaming June’ couldn’t reach its ultra-low estimate at auction. No one cared about it except for Puerto Rican industrialist Luis Ferré, who spotted it in a Mayfair gallery and snapped it up for just £2,000. 

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Science Museum

Science Museum

The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Geffrye Museum
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Geffrye Museum

Housed in a set of 18th-century almshouses, the Geffrye Museum offers a vivid physical history of the English interior. Displaying original furniture, textiles and decorative arts, the museum recreates a sequence of typical middle-class living rooms from 1600 to the present. It is a fascinating way to take in domestic history. The Geffrye Museum also has an airy restaurant overlooking the gardens, which include a herb garden and a series of period garden 'rooms' with period seating (open Apr 1 to Oct 31, during museum opening hours). Tours of the restored almshouses take place regularly, as do children's activities and workshops (see the website for details).

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
British Museum

British Museum

One of the world's oldest museums, the British Museum is one of London's greatest cultural treasures

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

The handsome Alfred Waterhouse building houses a collection that contains some 70 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Design Museum
Museums

Design Museum

Opened in 1989 (following its original incarnation as the Boilerhouse established in the V&A by Terence Conran), the Design Museum by Tower Bridge encompasses modern and contemporary industrial and fashion design, graphics, architecture and multimedia. The smart Blueprint Café has a balcony overlooking the Thames. You can buy design books in the museum shop, as well as products related to the exhibitions. Exhibitions are usually accompanied by a programme of workshops for children.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
V&A

V&A

The V&A houses one of the world's greatest collections of decorative arts, in such varied fields as ceramics, sculpture, portrait miniatures and photographs

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars