Public asked to suggest new permanent exhibit for Hackney Museum

A mock-up of the new exhibit. Pic: Hackney Council

Local people are to be asked for their ideas for a new permanent exhibition at Hackney Museum.

The exhibition is part of a wider museum renovation plan, which will be funded by a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £266,782.

The borough-wide survey will run until January 31 2024, and will be available both online and in person at the museum. It will allow people to have their say on the exhibit proposals and “share thoughts on what they would like to see, do and learn.”

It invites those who take part to share which time periods they are most interested in, as well as which themes including why people have visited and left Hackney, experiences of living in the borough and how different communities have shaped its culture.

The survey is open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Hackney. Both frequent visitors to the museum and those who are yet to go are encouraged to take part. There will also be focused group discussions running this month, open to Hackney community groups.

Hackney Museum, located in Reading Lane, currently houses exhibits on the community in the 1970s, stories from African residents and the rise and fall of the Trowbridge and Clapton Park estates, all of which can be visited until 2024. There is also a permanent display which charts the borough’s 1000-year history.

The renovation plan will also include a permanent exhibit on migration and settlement from prehistory to modern day and a refurbished community room and shop on the current site.

There will also be additional storage space for collections and enhanced interactive digital activities which will allow both museum visitors and staff to engage with Hackney’s local history in a new way.

Assistant Director for Culture, Libraries and Heritage at Hackney Council Petra Roberts stated that she is: “so excited to be able to include our resident’s voices and stories in this ambitious transformation project.”

She also said that it will give the museum: “a new lease of life” and will be: “fit for the future of Hackney’s residents and will truly reflect our communities past, present and futures”.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund are the largest funder of UK heritage and the investment in Hackney comes as part of their 10-year strategy, Heritage 33, which aims for heritage to be “valued, cared for, and sustained for everyone, now and in the future”. 

The strategy will invest £3.6 billion raised by National Lottery players in heritage projects across the UK over the next decade.

Hackney Museum has currently been granted round one funding, yet proposals will also be considered at a second round, where full funding of £1.8 million could be awarded.

The project is linked to a wider transformation of Hackney Central by Hackney Council which will also include a refurbishment of the Town Hall square and improvements to Hackney Central library. 

The transformation aims to create a greener, cleaner town centre with improved facilities and less traffic and received a £19 million boost from the Levelling Up Fund.

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