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Wildlife photography - your winner

You voted for your favourite photo from our European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and we reveal the winner...

Our European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition was really popular this winter. 

When coming to see the exhibition, visitors were asked to pick which photo was their favourite and leave their comments on a card. 

It was a close call. All of the photographs received at least one vote from the public and there were only a few votes between the top winners. 

We can now exclusively reveal the top three most popular photographs as chosen by our visitors are...

*atmospheric pause*

In third place, the graceful 'Wild European Lynx' by Laurent Geslin.

  • Wildlife photography - your winner, 'Wild European Lynx', Laurent Geslin
    'Wild European Lynx', Laurent Geslin

Here is what some people said about this photograph:

I was drawn to those big eyes and can just imagine him on his long prowls in the night. 

I really like the way the deep sky is captured in the background and how the photographer spent a long time to capture this. 

The contrast, the composition, the elusiveness of the subject. 

In second place, the characterful 'Lightness' by Matteo Lonati. 

  • Wildlife photography - your winner, 'Lightness', Matteo Lonati
    'Lightness', Matteo Lonati

Here is what some people said about this photograph:

It is simple and yet still beautiful.

I like the way the owl is standing to attention like a soldier.

A very arresting photo.

It looks like Hedwig. 

The winner of the public vote is the excellent 'Shadow Walker' by Richard Peters. 

  • Wildlife photography - your winner, 'Shadow Walker', Richard Peters
    'Shadow Walker', Richard Peters

Here is what some people said about this photograph:

It has a beautiful atmosphere.

It reflects the nature in London.

It says so much about the life of the fox - not in shot, he is the hidden king of the urban jungle. 

Because it captures wildlife in an urban setting and reminds us of its presence and beauty. 

Congratulations Richard for winning the public vote as well as the overall competition. 

You can read more about wildlife photography in our interviews with the photographers from this exhibition on our blog

Wildlife photography - your views

Our European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition has been very popular this winter, with people of all ages coming to see the 84 extraordinary photographs on display. 

Visitors to the exhibition were invited to fill out a card where they voted for their favourite photo and gave a reason why. 

Next week we will be announcing who came first, second and third in our visitor vote, but until then, here are some of our favourite responses so far: 

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Dragon Duel', Tom Way
    'Dragon Duel', Tom Way

It is brutal, other worldly, ancient, timeless. Somehow both alien and godlike. 

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Lion Love in the Rain', Jon Langeland
    'Lion Love in the Rain', Jon Langeland

The photographer has really captured the lioness's expression and the way the water is spraying is excellent.

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Wink', Ingo Arndt
    'Wink', Ingo Arndt

Extremely flirtatious and seductive, like a Spanish dancer or the seducing dance of tango. 

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Like from a Fairy tale', Giuseppe Bonali
    'Like from a Fairy tale', Giuseppe Bonali

A magical look into a micro world

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Under the water, above the water', Mike Korostelev
    'Under the water, above the water', Mike Korostelev

It tells a story in a really inventive way. Being upside down makes it magical, compelling, mysterious and majestic!

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Alien Sighting', David Burtuleit
    'Alien Sighting', David Burtuleit

Sometimes the things on our doorstep can be the most interesting. 

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Shadow Walker', Richard Peters
    'Shadow Walker', Richard Peters

It connects you somehow with a night story happening next to you that you don't know about. It's just outside. 

  • Wildlife photography - your views, 'Surprised Newt', Pekka Tuuri
    'Surprised Newt', Pekka Tuuri

There are many amazing photos in this exhibition. This one is my favourite because it is a common animal in an amazing situation and it is the only animal with a mohican hairstyle. 

Read our series of interviews with the photogrpahers from this exhibition on our blog

Send us your own wildlife photography by tagging your photos #horniman on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

Travellers' tails

Inspired by the Travellers' Tails project, we asked our visitors, 'Where would you like to explore?'

Since March, our Natural History Gallery has been home to the Travellers' Tails display. This display brings together the first European painting of an Australian animal, 'The Kongouro from New Holland' by George Stubbs, alongside the Horniman's taxidermy mount of an Eastern Grey Kangaroo and describes Captain's Cook's first voyage to the Pacific, where he encountered new landscapes, people, plants and animals. 

The Travellers' Tails project is a collaboration between five museums investigating the history of exploration, art and science. It brings together artists, scientists, explorers and museum professionals to investigate the nature of exploration in the Enlightenment era, how the multitude of histories can be explored and experienced in a gallery, heritage and museum setting, and to question what exploration means today.

Inspired by Travellers' Tails, we asked our visitors and our online audience to share their thoughts on exploration. The four questions we asked were: Where would you like to explore? What is left to explore? Exploration is... and My favourite explorer is...

We recieved some interesting answers. Some wanted to explore places they had never been to before. 

Some wanted to travel to hot countries, and some to cold. 

Some people wanted to go back in time to explore earth when the dinosaurs were alive. 

Many people suggested that still left to explore was the deepest oceans and outer space. 

Have you got a burning desire to explore somewhere? Who is your favourite explorer? Tweet us with the hashtag #TravellersTails to share your stories. 

Farewell to African Summer

Our African Summer season of events came to an end this weekend with Africarnival.

Over the summer, we've had 4 jazz picnics, around 50 groups from all around Africa performing, nearly 700 people attending Africa Late, and 73 people talking part in Africarnival's parade.

Here are a selection of tweets and photos from our visitors showing how much they enjoyed our events.

Take a Tea Trail

We have been working on an innovative digital project along with Europeana: Food and Drink, creating a webapp that will allow users to explore collections, historical sites and London venues all on the theme of tea.

The app is split into three trails that can be followed or used to give you an original idea for a London visit. The three trails are:

A history of tea

A look at how tea first arrived in London, how society took to having a cuppa and the development of tea cultivation.

Tea around the world

Tea is enjoyed around the world and in many different forms, this trail covers some of the many tea drinking customs that can be enjoyed in London.

Afternoon tea

The tea institution that is Afternoon Tea has a fascinating history that started over  200 years ago, from traditional Earl Grey to contemporary tea blends, we have gathered some of London’s most famous and secret tea serving venues.

The Horniman Musuem and Gardens were founded by a tea merchant; an appropriate legacy for us to celebrate

The webapp is due to launch later this year and it has been excellent fun researching the content, who knew there was a link between afternoon teas and a polio vaccination.

Get involved

London is a tea capital and we certainly can’t know all there is to know, no matter how many cuppas we have. So, we need your help crowd source a couple of venues:

  • Let us know where have you had your best afternoon tea or cup of tea,
  • London venues that serve Rooibos or Maté blends (we are a big fan of both)


If you have any questions or comments on the project please Tweet, Instagram or Facebook us or email us

I love Museums

The Museums Association launched their I Love Museums campaign, an online campaign for museum visitors, users and lovers to show their support for museums.

Museums are, ultimately, about people. There is no one type of person who vists a museums and there is certainly more than one reason to visit. This campaign gives you, the people who these museums are for, the chance to say why.

  • I love museums, Sophia Springs
    , Sophia Springs

Discovering the Horniman Aquarium

'Museum' the word and idea came from the Greek museion meaning seat of the Muses (nine inspirational goddesses who were the gospel singers in Disney's Hercules). Museums used to be contemplative philosophical spaces, it was not for many years until objects were displayed in these spaces.

Performing arts, part of the Horniman's Nature Late event

Now, museums are vibrant and varied. Here at the Horniman, Victorian taxidermy is displayed next to contemporary art, and hand's on craft sessions take place in stunning gardens with live music playing. There's no one way of defining a museum and there are loads of reasons to love them so please let us know by clicking here.

Here are some of your responses so far:


Storytelling with the Stroke Association

The Horniman regularly hosts visits from the Stroke Association, enabling stroke surviviors and their families to meet and explore the collections. We recently heard from Melvin about his experiences with the group and how it has helped him explore the Horniman.

Hello, My name is Melvin and I have been attending the Horniman Stroke Association group since March 2014.

In November we had an interesting session with a professional story teller called Margaret. She started with a gentle song with actions about the sea and the earth. Then we all took turns to open a special box and use our imagination to say what was inside. Other group members saw flowers, money, gold, the sea, a cat. I saw a magic mirror. Next, Margaret told a short story about her daughter encountering a snake in Brixton. After that, she encouraged us to tell stories about animals. Sue talked about her 'house rabbit' called Roger. I shared a story about my dog Spangle answering the phone.

Margaret then told a long but enchanting story about an old woman, a snake and a Royal Family. She used her voice and hands to hold our interest. Lastly, she asked us to re-tell parts of the story in small groups. In my group Sue spoke about the beginning of the story and I illustrated her tale by using gestures.

Overall, I thought this session was the best ever! There was less talking and more hand gestures, which I found very useful.

You can find out more about how the Horniman works with community groups in our Learning pages.

Earl, his stroke and visiting the Horniman

The Horniman regularly hosts visits from the Stroke Association, enabling stroke surviviors and their families to meet and explore the collections. Earl Bent has written a little about his visits to the museum and how they have aided in his recovery.

After having a stroke in December 2013, I spent 2 weeks in the Kings College Hospital Stroke Unit, followed by 6 weeks of occupational therapy home visits to help me regain the use of my right side and my speech. I was visited by Annette Carty who explained the various services offered by the Stroke Association. We spoke about furthering my communication skills which lead to me being introduced to Rachel Morrison who is the Communication Support Coordinator for Lewisham.

One of the services which sounded interesting to me was the communication group that meets on the last Thursday of every month at the world famous Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, South London.

With trepidation and great anxiety I attended my first meeting. Within the first fifteen minutes, the group along with Rachel made me realise that my initial feelings were not warranted. Although in my personal life I have great support, it was nice to be surrounded by people that have a greater and personal understanding of the impact a stroke has on your life and many issues faced whilst trying to overcome it.

The first meeting consisted of a slow but steady walk around the Horniman Gardens where we looked at and identified the various groups of plants. My personal favourite was the Mint Chocolate Tree! After the walk, we all returned to a room where a lively discussion was had.

  • Looking at wine leafs, The Stroke Association Group have been visiting the Gardens over the summer
    The Stroke Association Group have been visiting the Gardens over the summer

The second meeting I attended was about musical instruments and objects pertaining to communication throughout the ages. This included a visit to Music Gallery which houses a vast array of musical instruments. Some were odd looking, some fantastical and some were outright amazing.

My next meeting with the group was to the superb aquarium at the museum.  By now I had found that the partnership between the Stroke Association and the Horniman is of great benefit to Stroke survivors, their families and volunteers. It was because of this that although I did not always feel up to the journey, I pushed myself to attend.

  • A visit to the Aquarium , The Stroke Association have worked in the Aquarium and the Hands on Base
    The Stroke Association have worked in the Aquarium and the Hands on Base

The fourth meeting I attended, the group learnt about the art of communication through gesture and subtle nuances of movement in the body. We were thoroughly entertained by a Lady named Francesca, who is a trained Performing Artist and we looked at various masks and the roles they play in communication in societies. I was paired with Claudette, a fellow stroke survivor, and together we performed a short non-verbal set depicting 3 main gestures: shock, understanding & laughter.

  • Earl and Claudette, A sesssion with mime artist Francesca Martello
    A sesssion with mime artist Francesca Martello

I find myself looking forward to each and every meeting and disappointed when it is over in what seems like no time at all.

Who would have thought that when Frederick Horniman gave the museum to the people of London in 1901 it would become an aid to help in the recovery of stroke survivors.

I can honestly say without a shadow of a doubt, that if not for the marriage between the Stroke Association and the Horniman, I would not be able to share this with you!

Sam Loves Horniman

Sam and his family are regular visitors to the Horniman. His mum Jess has written a piece for us explaining why Sam especially loves our storytelling sessions and what keeps them coming back.

My son Sam loves visiting the Horniman. Sam is almost five years old, enjoys stories and is bright. He is also physically disabled, uses a wheelchair and is unable to talk.

It is often hard to find places of interest to Sam, and then to access them with him. It can sometimes be difficult to physically get in to the building or to get Sam close to an exhibit that is high up. For a child who struggles to use his hands, some interactive exhibits can be frustrating and boring.

The Horniman is a rare exception. We discovered 'A World of Stories' events at the museum when Sam was two and have been going regularly ever since. Each Sunday, a storyteller chooses an item from the museum's collection and uses it as the basis for a story. They are often folktales involving animals and distant lands: 'How the lion got his roar' and other exciting adventures.

  • A World of Stories session at the Horniman, Photo by Megan Taylor
    , Photo by Megan Taylor

Children sit on the floor to gather around the storyteller, meaning that Sam can see from his wheelchair. What he really enjoys in a story is lots of drama and a lively telling, and the tales here never disappoint. While Sam is unable to talk, his chuckles make obvious his enjoyment. Some children lose concentration but Sam is totally focused and is often the child laughing loudest and longest.

The only low point is at the end of the session, when Sam often feels sad at the end of the stories. Fortunately, there are lots of other things he finds interesting at the museum, and the whole building is easily navigable with a wheelchair.

He finds the aquarium fascinating and loves to get up close to the insects and fish, which are low enough for him to see from his chair.

  • Our Aquarium tanks are designed so that they can be viewed even at low levels, Photo by Laura Mtungwazi
    , Photo by Laura Mtungwazi

He can also use some of the hands-on instruments in the music room and is also able to play the outdoor instruments with a bit of help.

Sam's brother Eli is two and struggles to sit still for but of course there's plenty for him too at the Horniman - particularly stuffed monkeys (his favourite animal) and live crabs.

Read more about Sam's life at Jessica's website, storieswithsam.com.

Wish Full Thinking

In preparation for November's Festival of Lights Late, artist Mary Branson visited the Horniman to record the wishes, hopes and dreams of our staff and visitors.

Mary will use the resulting recordings for her piece 'Wish Full Thinking'. This installation will see hundreds of thousands of specially-prepared white feathers fill the Horniman Conservatory, and visitors invited to walk amongst them while lit with UV light.

The accompanying sound piece will include the many voices captured by Mary at the Horniman, speaking their own wishes, hopes and dreams.

Mary managed to record a range of voices in her afternoon at the museum, including schoolchildren, participants from community groups, general visitors and even some of our staff.

It was wonderful to see the range of wishes expressed, from lengthy monologues and streams of thought to one-liners, from selfless hopes for the happiness for others, to the simple and ubiquitous 'I wish I could fly'.

Listen to the final sound piece amongst the atmospheric setting of Wish Full Thinking in the Horiman Conservatory at Festival of Lights Late, on Thursday 6 November. Tickets are now available online (over 18s only).

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