Ralph Applebaum Associates

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World Gallery, Horniman Museum and Gardens

London, England

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is a unique repository of global cultural and natural histories. Its central exhibition, the World Gallery, aims to enrich the storied institution’s place at the heart of its local community in London by inviting visitors to consider their own place amongst the world’s many cultures.

Alongside the institution, we endeavored to create space that could connect cultures past and present, highlight global similarities and differences, and showcase everyday objects to answer the question: what does it mean to live a human life?

The design takes visitors on an emotionally-rich journey through five geographical regions: America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Within each of these regions, a series of immersive encounters invite visitors into different cultures and communities, taking in an astonishing range of perspectives and experiences: from horseback-riding across the plains of North America in the 1950s, to the contemporary nomadic cultures of the Himalayas, where smartphones are carried alongside traditional yak butter churns; from ancient trade voyages across the Mediterranean, to honoring ancestors in modern day China.

The overarching concept was to create a gallery that embodies the egalitarian ethos of contemporary anthropology – treating all cultures equally – and to capture a very human sense of warmth, welcome, curiosity, and generosity.

Size 6,460 square feet

Year 2018

AwardsADC: Art Directors Club Award: Merit AwardMuseums + Heritage Awards: Shortlisted, Best Permanent Exhibit

Photography Andrew Lee