Benin Redisplay

The Horniman is working with partners and communities following the transfer of ownership of items taken by force from Benin City.

In November 2022, the Horniman transferred ownership of 72 objects to Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).

These objects were forcibly looted from Benin City in 1897 during a British military incursion, and then purchased by Frederick Horniman and held in the Horniman’s collection for over 120 years.

Six of the objects were physically returned to the NCMM in November 2022 while the rest remain at the Horniman on loan. We have agreed a three-year loan agreement with NCMM from 28 November 2023 to 27 November 2026 in order to continue research and consultation around the objects, and to co-curate an updated Benin display at the Horniman. Some of these objects are on display in the World Gallery and in the Music Gallery.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is currently working with local community groups, young people and creatives in London and Nigeria to co-curate the updated Benin display.

Keep an eye on this page for updates as the project progresses.