Archive photograph of the Geffrye Museum from the early twentieth century
2014 marked two significant anniversaries for the Geffrye Museum: the tri-centenary of the opening of the almshouses for London’s poor and elderly, and the centenary of the conversion of the almshouses to the museum.
The centenary celebrations began in the spring with our special exhibition, useful + beautiful: contemporary design for the home, which explored the best in innovative, contemporary domestic design by established designers and emerging talent, from furniture and textiles to lighting and technology.
Throughout the summer, celebrations focused on the Geffrye’s gardens and buildings, including special tours of the restored almshouse, tea-themed events for adults and children during Chelsea Fringe, live musical and theatrical performances. A special display, Geffrye 100, which remains on view in the lower concourse area until Sunday 22 March 2015, charts the changing nature of the almshouses and the museum, highlighting some of the untold stories, unknown people and unseen objects in the Geffrye's history.
Young people have been at the heart of our celebrations – they explored and re-interpreted the Geffrye’s historical almshouse buildings, and created an outdoor exhibition in the front gardens. The exhibition included large-scale photographic cubes, a mobile phone audio tour and large animal sculptures. On Sunday 17 August we held a special free Centenary celebrations family event, created by young people, which included craft activities, music and games for all the family. Young people also lead monthly tours further exploring our almshouses’ history. A new online interactive timeline mapped key moments in the history of the almshouses over the last 300 years.
In September, our annual Ceramics in the City selling fair showcased the work of 50 potters from across the UK and our autumn and winter events included candlelight performances and talks, a banquet through the ages, tours of the almshouses with historic lighting and fires and the much-loved Christmas Past exhibition.