Face to face with local history: Hackney Museum reopens its doors

Hackney Museum. Pic: Colin Mutchler

Hackney Museum will reopen its doors for pre-booked “Covid-secure” visits from tomorrow, Thursday, following the easing of the national lockdown.

Attendees will now be able to see the museum’s exhibitions, such as “Hackney in the 1980s: Photographs from the Tape/Slide Project”, in person.

The exhibition, which includes video footage and photography documenting 80’s life through the lens of ordinary Hackney residents, was launched virtually via a livestream in October.

However, since lockdown restrictions were re-introduced on November 5, the museum has been closed to visitors. The images and videos, discovered in the basement of the Rio Cinema and revitalised, tell the cultural story of Hackney in the 80s.

The exhibition also showcases Hackney’s political history, including images of residents protesting about the lack of transparency from the police around the death of Colin Roach.

Protesters on the first anniversary of Colin Roach’s death – credit The Rio Cinema Archive – © The Rio Cinema

Colin Roach: A 21-year-old Black man who died of a gunshot wound to the mouth, in the foyer of Stoke Newington Police Station in January 1983. The police argued it was suicide, but many say the inquest was flawed. Roach’s death, around which there remain unanswered questions, is tackled in the poem “Who Killed Colin Roach?” by Benjamin Zephaniah, who lived locally at the time.

Other displays include the museum’s permanent collection, which will also be available to see, and highlights Hackney’s immigrant communities over 1,000 years, from the Anglo-Saxons to more recent refugee communities.

Social-distancing and facemasks are required to keep the museum covid safe, and some interactive features and family events will not be available due to the virus.

Located in Hackney Central right next to Hackney Town Hall, the local history museum is completely free to visit, but must be booked in advance – slots can be reserved here.

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