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Homelessness museum first London location

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

The Museum of Homelessness (MoH) has revealed plans to open its first dedicated location, with a new museum at Manor House Lodge in Finsbury Park, London. The new location will host creative programmes and community services focused on homelessness and housing.

Opening to the public in 2023, it will be created by MoH’s team in partnership with local residents and community groups. A ten-year community lease from its partner, Haringey Council, will enable significant investment in the site.

Haringey Council is currently undertaking initial works on the site, with the Museum of Homelessness set to be onsite once these are finished in Autumn 2022. The Museum of Homelessness team will then undertake a six-month community development period with the site set to open to the public in Spring/Summer 2023.

Funding for the location comes from Historic England, The Linbury Trust, Rede, Oak Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and Arts Council England.

The new Museum is hoped to serve as a creative hub that hosts performances, talks, and workshops developed by people with experience of homelessness.

In the first year, this will include new work developed with the local community by three artists in residence – Jacob V Joyce, Surfing Sofas, and Liv Wynter.

The location will eventually provide paid creative employment for seven talented people with experience of homelessness. MoH will also be working with its long-standing collaborator and artist gobscure on a piece to mark the opening of the site.

The Museum has an existing base of operations in London but has until now used public and private spaces to host its activities. These activities regularly include direct support for people experiencing homelessness alongside its creative output.

MoH’s artistic programme has included shows at Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Manchester Art Gallery. It also operates regularly on the streets and in hostels, squats, and day centres. Among the museum’s accolades is recognition for its most recent event, Secret Museum, which was named Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year 2022 at the Museums and Heritage Awards. In 2017 the museum was called “nimble and ephemeral” by the New York Times.

The Museum’s plans for the space also include providing 250 support sessions per year to those in need, which it is said is likely to include regular surgeries focused on housing and legal rights as well as the provision of essentials. The sessions are to be designed in partnership with those in need.

An open-access professional standard arts studio for people experiencing homelessness and a home for its archive and collection are also planned. The new location will also be used by charity Access to Sports to continue its work in the park.

“This is a critical moment in the development of the museum and we are grateful for the support and commitment of our partners at Haringey Council, our funders, and everyone who has supported us on this journey,” said Chair of Trustees Sharon Heal.

“This ground-breaking museum is everything a museum should be, rooted and radical and with a far-reaching ambition to make positive and lasting change with our communities.”

The Museum’s co-founder Matt Turtle called Finsbury Park “the people’s park, with a proud and radical history. “We are excited about transforming this precious site into a museum space like no other, a place where people can hear stories they won’t hear anyone else and receive practical support when they need it.”

Cllr Julie Davies, Cabinet Member for Communities and Civic Life said the new museum “will challenge visitors to rethink their preconceptions and encourage them to approach people who experience homelessness with compassion and empathy.”

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