Getting to know... the Horniman Museum

No touching! The eccentric Victorian museum talks to us about dodo decorations, pygmy goats and walruses without wrinkles.

The Horniman Museum, London

The Horniman Museum, London

Age: I was born in Victorian times (1901) under Art Nouveau influences.

Describe yourself in three words: Eclectic, curious, mesmerising.

What is your most treasured possession? My walrus (unfortunately its wrinkles are missing).

Your most famous visitor is… Vivienne Westwood’s platforms, along with the fashionista herself.

What is your greatest shop success? Our dodo Christmas tree decoration. It was a sell out.

Any museum pets? My taxidermy collection is enormous. Seriously, I do have some pygmy goats in the gardens along with some sheep. I’ll be getting more pets in the late summer – they live in a special enclosure called the Animal Walk.

One thing that could make you better is... I’m rather exposed to the elements on the Bandstand, but on the flipside I’ve got the most amazing views over London and of the Shard – I can even see to Wembley Stadium.

You have a museum crush on... Wellcome Collection on Euston Road – she has a love of curiosities like I do. She gave me her Merman in the 1980s – a most unique specimen. I recently took it on a tour with me around the UK.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? Now that my gardens have been spruced up, I think I’m looking rather beautiful.

You’re most happy when… My visitors are smiling and no one is touching the walrus.

Venue details

Horniman Museum and Gardens 100 London Road, Forest Hill London SE23 3PQ 020 8699 1872

Entry details

Free entry to all for permanent collections

Free entry to exhibitions and aquarium with National Art Pass

Museum Daily, 10 – 5.30 Closed 24 – 26 Dec Gardens Daily, Mon – Sat, 7.15 – sunset Sun and Bank Holidays, 8 ​– sunset Closed 25 Dec