School holidays: What’s on in local museums and galleries

pic: Ragged School

We have put together a video guide of what’s going on in the museums and galleries along the East London Line over the Easter holidays. Click on the pinpoints on the map to find out more about what each venue has on offer.


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V&A Museum of Childhood

Located just a short walk from Bethnal Green tube station, the V&A Museum of Childhood boasts a collection of artefacts relating to childhood spanning from the 17th century through to present day.

The museum was built after the Great Exhibition of 1851 and it was officially opened as the Bethnal Green Museum on June 24 1872.

It started to become the Museum of Childhood in 1922, when the head curator noticed that the building was often filled with noisy children, so he set about making the space more child-friendly.

Geffrye Museum

The Geffrye Museum shows a selection of English middle-class living rooms in the confines of a converted warehouse.

The museum opened in 1914 and its purpose was to serve as a reference collection of furniture of a: “Fine standard of technical and artistic excellence” in order to educate and inspire local workers.

It is a walk through time, from the 17th century up to a contemporary late 20th century space; from the splendour of Georgian period furniture enjoyed by the Victorians, to a 1990s flat.

Visitors can also enjoy the award-winning walled herb garden and a series of period gardens.

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Tower Hamlets

Ragged School Museum

Housed beside the Regent’s Canal in what was once London’s biggest Ragged School, this unique venue offers hands-on exhibits and talks commemorating the experience of the East End’s poor a century ago.

A Victorian classroom has been recreated in one of Dr Barnardo’s original classrooms, as well as a domestic kitchen as it would have been in 1900.

The Museum of London Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands houses over two million objects relating to the capital city and its people.

It explores the story of London’s river, port and people beginning with prehistoric times through to modern day and the recent regeneration of the Docklands area.

The museum opened in 2003 and visitors can explore a vast variety of artefacts, including dress and fashion, photography, and pottery and bone discovered during dredging operations of the Thames in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Royal London Hospital Museum

The Royal London Hospital Museum was founded in 1740 and is now located in the former crypt of a late 19th century church located in Whitechapel. Its gory collection features items relating to the Jack the Ripper murders and surgical tools from bygone eras predating antiseptics.

The collection also includes artefacts relating to Joseph Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man. You will be able to see a replica of his hat and veil and documents relating to his stay at the hospital.

The Whitechapel Gallery

This newly-extended East End gallery has premiered world-class artists for over a century, hosting exhibitions by such modern masters as Picasso, Pollock, Rothko, Kahlo and Freud. With a host of beautiful galleries and historic archives, the gallery is a touchstone for contemporary art internationally.

The Horniman Museum & Gardens

This museum first opened during Victorian times, when Frederick John Horniman opened his house and extraordinary collection of objects to visitors.

The museum now boasts an aquarium, 16-acre gardens, a music gallery that includes a giant tuba and a nature base. Visitors will also see a walrus which was overstuffed as the taxidermist did not know how large the animal was supposed to be!

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Croydon Museum

The museum tells the story of Croydon from 1800 to the present day, through objects and stories of local people. There is also the Croydon local studies and archives: the place to go to find out about the history of your family, house or local community.

Also to be found at the museum is Croydon art collection, which contains over 2000 paintings, prints and drawings.

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