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A basket of eggs which are highly decorated in different colours and with different patterns. They are all on a piece of fabric which is also patterned in a similar style

Object in Focus

Accessible and fully-supported short term loans from the Horniman collections to other venues.

Object in Focus is a loans programme funded by the Arts Council England, which aims to improve access to our collections and strengthen partnerships by offering a range of objects for loan free of charge.

These loans meet the same documentation, conservation and exhibition standards as our regular loans, and conservation and collections management support is provided throughout. This programme is available until March 2022 and aims to pioneer a proactive and accessible way of offering loans.

The programme offers free of charge:

  • An object or selection of objects on short-term loan from a portfolio of objects from the Horniman’s diverse collections.
  • The option of borrowing a showcase (either 1800mm x 1000mm² or 1800mm x 700mm²) with lighting (depending on the object).
  • Transport and installation/de-installation of the object and showcase.
  • An interpretation panel and mount for the display.
  • The option of publicity (postcards or bookmarks) for the loan and talk/event.
  • The option of professional development or a specialist talk/event related to the loan.
  • Support from the project coordinator throughout the loan process.

Who is eligible?

We are keen to work with small museums and other venues in London and the South East of England, however, we may be able to loan further afield. Please contact us to discuss eligibility.

Venues will need to commit to the following:

  • A contact who is regularly available to coordinate the loan.
  • Time to commit to the paperwork, a pre-loan visit and installation of the loan.
  • To work with us if need be to meet environmental and security conditions set out by our conservators and UKRG.
  • Step free access and space for a showcase, or your own suitable showcase.

Current and upcoming displays

  • Sawfish rostra at The Deep in Hull from 27 September 2019 to December 2020 to coincide with International Sawfish Day on 17 October
  • Two loans each consisting of 62 Romanian decorated eggs at two colleges in the University of the Arts London from 3 January to Autumn 2020; Wimbledon College of Arts and Camberwell College of Arts​
  • Lost Sounds of Rural England at Maidstone Museum from 6 October 2020 to 21 February 2021
  • Chinese zhenwu figure​ at Camberwell College of Arts from 16 December 2020 to 28 March 2021
  • Ferramenta at Lewisham Library from 23 February 2021 to 6 June 2021

Objects in the project

Objects selected for loan span the Horniman’s three core collections; Natural History, Anthropology and Musical Instruments.

The objects can be used to launch a new or redeveloped gallery, provide a theme for activities or to highlight a collection and encourage visitors.

We can also offer advice on how to link loaned objects to your current collections, and to discuss possible themes and connections.


  • Japanese shōgi set
  • Ming dynasty Arrow Vase
  • Chinese zhenwu figure
  • 62 Traditional Romanian hand decorated Easter eggs
  • Pair of Marquesan stilt steps
  • Imbenge, South African beer pot covers
  • Swedish Christmas straw goat
  • Ferramenta, part of a candomble shrine
  • Carnival mask from Cyprus
  • Mahogany napkin press

Natural History:

  • Horse skull
  • Dolphin skull
  • Taxidermy secretary bird
  • Taxidermy pine marten
  • Taxidermy badger
  • Miniature Taxidermy Dogs
  • Selection of sawfish rostra
  • 2 large ammonites
  • Selection of minerals

Musical Instruments:

  • World War One military bugle
  • Narsīgā, Indian trumpet
  • Sounds of Rural England

Follow our progress

You can see the locations of some of our current and past Object in Focus Loans on our Loans Map.


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