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Unlocking the Geffrye - View of new additional entrance opposite Hoxton station

The proposed new entrance on Geffrye Street opposite Hoxton station
(c) Wright & Wright Architects Ltd

National Lottery funding helps the Geffrye achieve another significant milestone

Our ambitious plans to ‘unlock’ the Geffrye have taken a major step forward thanks to the confirmation of a £12.3m National Lottery grant.

Sonia Solicari, Director of the Geffrye, said “This is a massive boost and endorsement for the project. With this crucial National Lottery funding secure, alongside the £4.3m we have already raised, we can now press ahead with raising the final £1.5m to make our vision a reality and transform the Geffrye into a better, even more inspiring place for all.”

The £18.1m project will greatly improve access and enhance the experience of all visitors to the Geffrye. After development 70% of the museum’s buildings will be open to the public, as opposed to 30% now. New spaces within the existing buildings, including a gallery and library, alongside newly built learning and event spaces will increase capacity so the museum will be able to welcome up to 50% more people each year, bring many more collections out of storage and explore the theme of home more broadly.

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said “This is an imaginative project to improve the Geffrye’s capacity to tell the evolving story of British domestic life over the last three centuries. The existing site’s combination of historic buildings, collections, period rooms and gardens will be greatly enhanced thanks to major support from the National Lottery. Close to Hoxton Station and with plans for a new café and other improved visitor facilities, the Geffrye is set to become a focal point for heritage and culture in the East End of London.”

Read more about Unlocking the Geffrye and how you can support us here

Read the full press release here

22 March 2017

Sonia Solicari to be the new Director of the Geffrye

Sonia Solicari

We announced today that Sonia Solicari, currently Head of the Guildhall Art Gallery, has been appointed Director of the Geffrye. She will take up the post in January 2017.

The announcement follows the news earlier this year that David Dewing will retire as Director at the end of 2016, after 25 years of service at the museum.

Dr Samir Shah, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said “I’m delighted that Sonia will be joining the Geffrye. She has shown an impressive range of creativity and a commitment to innovation during her roles at the V&A and most recently at the Guildhall Art Gallery, where she spearheaded change and reinvigorated the Gallery. Our ambitious vision to become an internationally renowned museum of the home, and our major capital project to achieve this vision, are well under way. We are confident that Sonia has the skills and passion to successfully lead the Geffrye in this next exciting chapter of our 100-year-history.”

Sonia Solicari said “As the museum of the home, the Geffrye has a universal appeal. I have been a visitor to the museum for many years, and have been consistently inspired by its wonderful collections and ground-breaking exhibitions. This long acquaintance makes me especially excited to be leading the museum at this transformative moment in its history. Unlocking the Geffrye will create incredible new opportunities for the museum, and I look forward to working with the rest of the staff to inspire current and future generations of visitors.”

Read the full press release here

13 October 2016

Unlocking the Geffrye - Hackney Council gives our development project the green light

Cross section of the new development

The new Geffrye Museum development - cross section of the main museum building

We’re pleased to announce that Hackney Council has granted planning permission for our plans to develop the museum. The ‘Unlocking the Geffrye’ project will greatly improve access and enhance the experience of all visitors to our Grade I listed buildings and gardens.

The £15m scheme, designed by Wright & Wright Architects, will breathe life into the museum’s 18th-century almshouse buildings by opening up and making much better use of spaces previously unseen by the public in the museum’s 100 year history.

David Dewing, Director of the Geffrye, said “We have been thrilled by the support we’ve received for Unlocking the Geffrye and are delighted that Hackney Council has approved our plans. Developing the museum will ensure our buildings and gardens are safeguarded for future generations and many more people will be able to enjoy the Geffrye, be inspired by our collections and take part in our activities. With planning secured, we can now really step up our fundraising campaign to make our vision a reality.”

Read the full press release here

7 July 2016

David Dewing, Director of the Geffrye Museum of the Home, announces his retirement

Director David Dewing announces his retirement 

David Dewing, Director of the Geffrye Museum of the Home, has announced today that he will be stepping down at the end of 2016.

David said “The Geffrye is in great shape, and it has a fantastic future. I have loved working here and it has been an immense privilege. The Geffrye is such a special place, the buildings and gardens are a delight, the collections are endlessly fascinating and our theme of the home is inspiring to all. After 25 years as Director, I have chosen to retire now as this is a good moment to hand over to someone who can lead the museum through the next exciting stage in its development.”

Dr Samir Shah, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said “David has been a tremendous Director. He has led the museum through a series of evolutionary changes whilst never losing sight of its unique qualities and charm. David has laid the foundations for a major capital development project which will allow many more people to benefit from all that the Geffrye has to offer. We are extremely grateful for his vision and all that he has done to make the Geffrye one of London’s best-loved museums. We wish him well in his retirement.”

Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “David Dewing has expertly led the Geffrye Museum over the past 25 years. He has increased the profile of the museum hugely and it is now attracting a record number of visitors. He has been a great asset for the museum and I would like to thank him for his fantastic work and wish him well for the future.”

The Board of Trustees will shortly begin its search for a new Director to start in early 2017.

Read the full press release here.

11 May 2016

Recent Acquisition

Portrait of Bell and Dorothy Freeman by Edward Robert Hughes

The Geffrye has recently acquired an important watercolour portrait by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Robert Hughes (1851–1914). The portrait shows sisters Bell and Dorothy Freeman, who were aged about fourteen and eight when the picture was painted in 1889. They are shown in a domestic interior, most likely their London home, decorated in the ‘artistic’ taste, with William Morris wallpaper, red velvet curtains and other Aesthetic style furnishings. The painting currently features in the exhibition Enchanted Dreams: the Pre-Raphaelite Art of E. R. Hughes, at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (until 21 February 2016). On its return, it will be displayed in the museum’s Reading Room..

This purchase was made possible by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.

15 January 2016

Three new trustees appointed to the Geffrye Museum

John Forrester, Jonathan Newby and Abigail Williams have been appointed to the Geffrye Museum Board and each began a three year term as trustee on 9 July 2015.

John Forrester is Chief Executive of the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region for DTZ, a global leader in property services. He also chairs the Geffrye’s Expert Panel which advises the museum on its capital project Unlocking the Geffrye. John is co-opted on to the Board of Trustees.

Jonathan Newby is Chief Operating Officer of the Science Museum Group, the world’s largest group of science and technology museums, where his portfolio includes visitor services and all commercial activities.

Abigail Williams is Professor of English Literature and Lord White Tutorial Fellow at St Peter's College, University of Oxford. She is a longstanding academic partner of the Geffrye and is currently jointly supervising an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award on domestic reading with the museum. 

31 July 2015

Geffrye Museum shortlisted for the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award 2015

We are delighted to announce that The Geffrye Museum of the Home is the only London museum to be shortlisted from over 800 nominations for the Family Friendly Museum Award 2015. Run by charity Kids in Museums and sponsored by the Telegraph Newspaper Group, the Award is the biggest museum award in Britain and the only one where families pick the winner.

Read our press release here.

13 July 2015

Geffrye Museum on Long List for the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award 2015

We are delighted to announce that the Geffrye has made the long list of 20 museums nominated for the Daily Telegraph Kids in Museum Award 2015. This national award celebrates family-friendly museums across the UK.

Our family programme at the museum is well rounded and includes audio tours and backpacks, Nursery Rhyme Time sessions for under 5s, family day events, holiday activities for 5 - 16 year olds, workshops and opportunities for teens, and outreach sessions to family learning groups, as well as our much-loved quiz desk, feely box, garden activity cart and Sam the Dog trail. 

Well done to our Learning team for all their hard work in creating, delivering and supporting our extensive children and families programme.

Find out more and how to get involved with selecting the winning museum at

1 June 2015

Unlocking the Geffrye – update

Cross section of the main building - Geffrye Museum new development

The new Geffrye Museum development - cross section of the main museum building

We are delighted to announce that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded us £11m to support our transformative development plans to ‘unlock’ the Geffrye.

David Dewing, Director of the Geffrye, said “We are thrilled to have the Heritage Lottery Fund’s support. Developing the museum means more people will be able to visit and be inspired by the museum’s unique collections, buildings and gardens. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received for the plans from our visitors, partners and the local community and look forward to working together on finalising the plans to develop and improve the Geffrye for future generations.”

Read more here.

20 May 2015

DCMS appoints three new trustees to the Geffrye Museum

Three new trustees have been appointed to the Geffrye Museum by Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Cynthia Polemis, Alexandra Morris Robson and Edwina Sassoon will each begin a three year term as trustee on 1 April 2105.

Dr Samir Shah, Chair of the Geffrye Museum, said “I am delighted to welcome three new Trustees to the Board of the Geffrye. I look forward to their formidable skills being deployed to help the Geffrye in its strategic ambitions.”

Cynthia Polemis has a longstanding career in broadcasting as a presenter for the BBC World Service, alongside development and fundraising work in the independent theatre sector. In recent years she has been involved with setting up small independent café chain, Fernandez and Wells.

Alexandra Morris Robson is founder and CEO of Augustine Jewels. Previously she was a partner at Accenture. Alexandra has a BA from Cambridge University and an MA from Stanford University.

Edwina Sassoon has worked with many museums and galleries during her career in the visual arts. She is currently advisor to the Hepworth Wakefield and a director of the Friends of the Royal Academy.

Read the DCMS press release here

31 March 2015

Arts Council England funding announced

We are delighted to announce that we have been granted £506,786 from the Arts Council Museum Resilience Fund. The funding will support a two-year strategic programme which will cover commercial development, stakeholder engagement and audience and collections development. This support will enable us to put in place the building blocks for future growth and sustainable development and will support continued innovation at the museum and within the sector more broadly.

David Dewing, Director of the Geffrye said “It’s brilliant news! The grant from the Arts Council’s Museum Resilience Fund will help us meet the challenges of the tough economic climate. This is a programme for growth, innovation and diversity and we are very excited to be able to forge ahead in transforming the Geffrye.”

Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the ambitions of the Geffrye Museum through the Museum Resilience Fund. Museums are a really important way for us to celebrate and understand our cultural history across a broad range of areas, from exploring the history of transport through to that of our homes and the way we live. This investment will provide these museums with the opportunity to increase their sustainability and secure a more resilient future, ensuring they can continue to offer visitors a fantastic experience.”

You can read the Arts Council's announcement here.

2 March 2015

Unlocking the Geffrye - our plans for the future

Birds eye view of new development of the Geffrye Museum

Today we unveiled the plans for our ambitious capital project which will open up the Geffrye for all. A display and an architect's model of the proposed new development is now on display at the museum. Please come along to see it and share your feedback.  You can also read more about our plans for the future here.

We are holding an open evening at the Geffrye on Tuesday 4 November, 6 - 7.30pm, when you can meet the museum director, David Dewing, and the architect, Clare Wright, to hear more about the plans and tell us what you think.

21 October 2014