Music in the Making

Music in the Making is a major four year programme to improve understanding of the Horniman’s Musical Instrument collection and to maximise its potential through creative programming.


The Horniman’s Musical Instrument collection is arguably the largest and most diverse in the UK and one of the most important in the world.

The extraordinary range and depth of the collection represents the full creative process, expresses cultural identity and exchange, and holds within it thousands of stories. It carries enormous potential for scholarship, engagement and creative artistic practice.

Music in the Making is funded by Arts Council England. The programme will be complemented by activities linked to the Horniman’s HLF-funded acquisition of Finchcocks keyboards.

Support from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund will allow us to redevelop our Music Gallery to support the Music in the Making project.


The programme has a quartet of main activity threads:

  • Curation and documentation – Developing new knowledge and ways of recording and sharing information related to the collections.
  • Creating new work – Offering artists, makers, composers and performers the chance to explore the collections as the starting point for developing new work. Local and source communities will also be involved in this process.
  • Public engagement – Engaging the public through displays, performances, events and digital assets, working with schools, communities and music teachers to explore how the collections can inspire and challenge young people.
  • Developing our network – Play our part in leading the museum sector in this area and convening a cross sector collaborative network.


The programme will be developed in three phases:

2018/19 – Research

We will involve a wide range of individuals and organisations in researching our collection and developing ideas for how best to share it. This phase will begin with the appointment of a programme coordinator, followed by a symposium in summer 2018 and the creation of an advisory group.

2019/20 – Planning

A dedicated planning period to review the results and recommendations that emerge from the research, and ensuring that we are prepared ahead of the delivery phase. During this time we will develop a sector support programme and an Object in Focus tour. This period will also feature the Finchcocks public programme.

2020/22 – Delivery

Music will be integrated into many aspects of our public programme – in commissions and live performances during our popular summer seasons of events, with exhibitions in The Studio, for adult audiences at our Late events, in new volunteering opportunities, and as part of our successful Youth Engagement programme.

We will create a new music-based offer for children and young people, including new schools sessions, online resources, teacher training and musical experiences in our Hands on Base.

Digital channels will help us to reach new audiences to share our collections more widely. They will also showcase our excellence in programming, curation and help share our work with musicians, makers, communities and academics.

The delivery phase will conclude with support for the wider sector and contributions to relevant conferences and seminars. Finally, legacy projects will be considered.