Art Portfolio

This session is tailored to your topic or students’ interests; with over 3,000 objects in our unique Handling Collection, our Learning Officers will select a variety of artefacts for your students to sketch and photograph.

From traditional art and textiles from around the world to natural forms, pupils will have a fantastic opportunity to develop their still life sketching skills and form ideas and concepts around their own work. Pupils will have the chance to handle and closely study the objects, repositioning and arranging them as they choose, whilst exploring new textures and forms and being inspired by the stories behind them.

Previous topics have included:

  • Natural Forms
  • Disguise
  • Masks
  • Work, Rest and Play
  • World Cultures and
  • Manmade.

Please bring your sketchbooks and pencils with you.

Continue to be inspired by our Museum’s galleries, gardens, and living animals, from musical instruments to our World Gallery and Animal Walk – all of which are free to visit. See and be inspired by both the modern and traditional work of artists from across the world on display in our World Gallery, and explore the incredible photography exhibitions in our free Balcony displays.

Learning Objectives:

  • Confidently explore and select natural history and/or ethnographic objects for artwork
  • Improve still life sketching skills
  • Find out about cultural meaning and stories behind objects

“Fantastic teacher, very engaging, personable and knowledgeable!”

This session can support the Art Unit of the London Curriculum.

The Horniman is an Arts Award Supporter and Artsmark Partner.

Our Museum Sketchbook sessions can be put towards part A of your group’s Discover or Bronze award, or parts A and C of their Explore award.

Find out more about Arts Award and Artsmark.

Please note that our Natural History Gallery  is now closed as part of a major two-year redevelopment, Nature + Love. The rest of our Galleries, displays and Gardens will be open as usual, with plenty across the site to support your topic (from our free Animal Walk, to our World Gallery and Gardens). Our schools workshops are unaffected.

We will be opening a free temporary exhibition about the natural world in September 2024.


Workshop information

How to book

Booking a taught session includes a welcome briefing on arrival, timed access to a lunch space, cloakroom facilities and access to toilets for the exclusive use of school groups.

Contact us to make a booking:
020 8291 8686

When you contact us please have ready:

– the name of the taught session you would like to book or topic you are studying,

– 1st/2nd/3rd choice of date and preferred session time,

– the number of pupils and adults attending.


Entrance to the Horniman Museum and Gardens is free of charge. Taught sessions and access to some exhibitions are charged for. We invoice after your visit.

The following charges apply:

Mainstream State schools: £90 including VAT, £75 excluding VAT

Private/independent schools: £129.60 including VAT, £108 excluding VAT

SEND schools and groups: £45 including VAT, £37.25 excluding VAT

We offer a bursary scheme for schools that meet a set criteria.

Planning your visit

See the School Trips page for other essential information including our risk assessment.

We are open from 10am-5.30pm, 7 days a week. Entrance to the Museum and Gardens is free of charge but must be booked in advance by emailing

We offer reduced educational rates for our Aquarium, Butterfly House, and Temporary exhibition. See the School Trips page for further information.

Charges apply to all children aged 3 years and over, and all accompanying teachers and adults, unless they are specific 1:1 carers.