The Horniman Museum and Gardens is a unique attraction in south east London where world cultures and the natural world are brought together for everyone to enjoy. The Museum holds internationally important collections of anthropology and musical instruments, as well as a popular natural history gallery and Aquarium. The 16 acres of beautiful Gardens feature a tropical Butterfly House and small animal enclosure, and offer stunning views across London.

The Horniman opened in 1901 as ‘a gift to the people’ from tea trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman, who had an objective of bringing the world to Forest Hill. Today the Horniman has expanded that founding gift and now has a collection of 350,000 objects, specimens and artefacts from around the world and continues to provide amazing, inspiring and enlightening encounters for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds

Every year we attract over 860,000 visitors and deliver curriculum-linked learning programmes to tens of thousands of schoolchildren, supporting schools at primary and secondary level. We also work with creative partners to showcase a vibrant annual exhibitions and events programme and through research, loans and skills-sharing we contribute to the resilience and development of the cultural sector in the UK and internationally.

The Horniman won the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year for 2022 in recognition of our work with local schoolchildren, partners and artists, alongside community groups working with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society. The chair of the judges said:

“The Horniman Museum and Gardens has now blossomed into a truly holistic museum bringing together art, nature and its myriad collections. Its values are woven through everything it now does, with a passionate team breathing life and meaning into every object, performance, plant and animal. In many ways it’s the perfect museum and I would encourage everyone to go and experience all it has to offer.”

We are now embarking on a significant capital project to enhance the visitor experience. Nature + Love will deliver a once-in-a-generation redisplay of our natural history gallery and create new destinations in the Horniman Gardens. Importantly the project aims to make the Horniman more inclusive and accessible, placing environmental sustainability and a commitment to fighting the climate emergency at its heart. Project delivery is expected to start in 2023 with a fundraising campaign running until 2026.

Mission, values and aims

Our mission is central to everything we do, whilst our values shape our work and give the Horniman its unique character as the only museum in London in which nature and culture can be seen side by side, allowing us to engage with interconnected issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and migration in a positive way.


The Horniman connects us all with global cultures and the natural environment, encouraging us to shape a positive future for the world we all share.


To support this mission our organisational values are:

  • Inclusive
  • Inspiring
  • Generous
  • Fun.

Internally our staff are empowered to act sustainably, behave ethically, pursue excellence and encourage enterprise in their delivery.

Corporate aims

The ongoing corporate aims which give structure to this are:

  • Access: We will use the collections and Gardens to stimulate curiosity and wonder, promoting opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to participate in and enjoy exhibitions, educational programmes, activities and events – both face-to-face and online.
  • Collections: We will safeguard and develop the collections so that they can be made as accessible as possible now and into the future.
  • Shaping the future: We will effectively manage our resources and become more financially resilient so that we can continue to develop and share our collections, estate and expertise for the widest possible public benefit.

Michael Salter-Church Chair

Nick Merriman Chief Executive

Why the Horniman Museum and Gardens is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

One of the aims of the Horniman is to enable people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to participate in our activities and this should include the Board of Trustees.  We want to play our part in helping people learn about governance within the cultural sector.  We recognise that some people have been historically excluded or under-recognised* on Boards and through participation we hope to help address this. 
We are based in a multi-cultural, vibrant part of London and by harnessing the ideas and energies of a diverse set of people we will continue to flourish.  Through engagement in the Boardroom Apprenticeship scheme we hope to create a legacy, of people who feel equipped to volunteer in support of museums and other cultural institutions at every level of an organisation. 
*e.g. Black, Asian and minority ethnic people; women; non-binary people; members of the LGBTQ+ community; disabled people; neurologically diverse people; and communities with high poverty rates.

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings


Date of Board Meetings (January 2024 – December 2024)


Committee of the Boards and meeting dates (January 2024 – December 2024)