Archive photograph of the Geffrye Museum from the early twentieth century
2014 marks 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 explores the best in innovative, contemporary domestic design by established designers and emerging talent, from furniture and textiles to lighting and technology. useful + beautiful runs until 25 August.
Throughout the summer, celebrations will focus 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 and behind-the-scenes tours of the museum’s collections and archives. There is also a special display, Geffrye 100, which 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 are at the heart of our celebrations – they have been exploring and re-interpreting the Geffrye’s historical almshouse buildings, and created an outdoor exhibition in the front gardens (from 29 July to January 2015). The exhibition includes 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 will also lead monthly tours further exploring our almshouses’ history. A new online interactive timeline maps key moments in the history of the almshouses over the last 300 years.
In September, our annual Ceramics in the City selling fair returns, showcasing the work of 50 potters from across the UK. As autumn closes in, events will include 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.