Top ten museum exhibitions in London

Check out our pick of the city's best cultural offerings at the top ten museum exhibitions in London
Ayurvedic Man: Encounters with Indian Medicine
Wellcome Collection
By Time Out London editors |
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Get ready culture vultures: London’s best museums are home to some cracking exhibitions now, throughout 2018 and beyond. Whatever the day, week or season, there’s always an exciting show in London’s events calendar to delve into, on subjects as varied as ancient history, fashion and the natural world. Here’s our pick of the top ten museum exhibitions on in London right now.
Check out our pick of 7 must-visit London museums:
RECOMMENDED: our full guide to exhibitions in London

The best museum exhibitions in London

© The Trustees of the British Museum
Museums

I am Ashurbanipal: King of the World, King of Assyria

icon-location-pin British Museum, Bloomsbury
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The great king Ashurbanipal was seriously not into lions, absolutely hated the things. The first of many gorgeously detailed Assyrian wall reliefs in this mesmerising exhibition depicts the king firing arrows at fleeing lions and shoving swords through their rearing chests. Lions, you see, represented power and savagery, and no one could hold power but Ashurbanipal, and his savagery, though gruesomely brutal, was anything but wild.  

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Ernest Nister 'Mrs Tabitha's Cats Academy' (1892). Image courtesy of the British Library
Museums

Cats on the Page

icon-location-pin British Library, Euston
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Confession: I’m a dog person. So it’s not partisanship at work when I say the British Library are the cats who scored the exhibition cream with this free display of the best of felines in literature. That’s right: cats in books.

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Image courtesy of Archivio Ugo La Pietra, Milano
Museums

Home Futures

icon-location-pin Design Museum, Kensington
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William Morris famously advised: ‘have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. The Design Museum’s latest exhibition is filled with over 150 domestic designs both useful and beautiful, all created with the intention of revolutionising how we conduct ourselves behind closed doors. 

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Rab Harling, still from Inversion/Reflection/ What Does Balfron Tower Mean To You?, 2014. Credit/ Rab Harling
Museums

Living with Buildings

icon-location-pin Wellcome Collection, Bloomsbury
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Let’s talk about loos. Internal plumbing. Ventilation systems. Running water. Double-glazed windows and all the other things that make where we live helpful to our health. If you’ve ever found yourself with a household emergency, a bust boiler two days before Christmas or a hole in the ceiling ten mins before a thunderstorm, you’ll know that it’s oh so easy to take a functioning home for granted until the moment it stops working. 

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Museums

Food Glorious Food: Dinner with Dickens

icon-location-pin Charles Dickens Museum, Holborn
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Charlie D’s crib has gone full Christmas with its annual festive makeover. In the year that marked the 175th anniversary of the publication of ‘A Christmas Carol’, it’s putting on an exhibition about the place of food in Dickens’s work. There are recipe books used by his wife Catherine (including the amazingly titled ‘Gastronomic Regenerator’), household accounts and Victorian dining paraphernalia, all tied together with foodie quotes from his novels.

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Winterfell, Westeroscraft - © Minecraft
Museums

Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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Hearing the title of this exhibition, you’re either going to think: What a great excuse to play eight hours of Journey, just to re-familiarise myself with the NPCs, or: What? Video games? Like Pac-Man? 

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© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Museums

Fashioned from Nature

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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This is the V&A doing what the V&A does best: staging world-class exhibitions of immaculately preserved and presented fashion. This new spring blockbuster covers the way clothing has been inspired by the beauty of nature, but has also exploited and damaged the natural world.

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© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Art

Russia: Royalty & The Romanovs

icon-location-pin The Queen's Gallery, St James's Park
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There’s an episode in Matthew Weiner’s series, ‘The Romanoffs’, where descendants of Russia’s last royal family get together on a cruise ship and re-enact the glory days of grand balls and staged entertainment. Those with Romanov DNA lap it up, while two married-in relations find the entire event slightly perplexing. Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs, a new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, has the potential to inspire a similar division of response. 

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© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Art

Shadows of War: Roger Fenton's Photographs of the Crimea 1855

icon-location-pin The Queen's Gallery, St James's Park
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In 1855, Roger Fenton arrived in the Crimea on a commission from publisher Thomas Agnew & Sons to photograph scenes and figures from the ongoing Crimean War. After he returned to London, the images were exhibited at four venues in the capital and… that was it. There hasn’t been a London show of Fenton’s creations since 1856. 

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