he irony isn’t lost on me that, after a year locked up in our homes, London’s best new day out is at the Museum of the Home. Previously known as the Geffrye Museum, it reopens on June 12 with a new name, a gorgeously revamped building, and a refreshed purpose. After being closed for three years while an £18.1m redevelopment project was underway, it’s now ready to invite us all back in – and right from an imminently Instagram-able new red sign, above an accessible new entrance opposite Hoxton station, it does just that.
Where once the museum focused heavily on interior design, now the director Sonia Solicari is taking things in a new curatorial direction. “Now it’s really about the experience of home as an emotional and psychological space,” she tells me when I visit. “Our vision is to review and rethink the ways we live, in order to live better together – and that’s bringing in a social mission as well.”
The jumping off point is one big question: what does home mean to you? And it’s an apt one for a moment when the concept of a home is changing – its delineation from work perhaps forever altered by the pandemic – but also at a time when actually owning one seems out of reach for many young Londoners.
That this expansive remit can actually be displayed is down to an impressive refurb by architects Wright & Wright, which has given it 80 percent more exhibition space. Keeping the original – very beautiful – Grade I listed almshouse building…