People Power: Black British arts and activism in Hackney 1960s-2000s

4 October - 21 January

Aspects of Black British arts and activism developed in Hackney since the 1960s.

The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles

21 November - 28 January

A selection of rare portraits portraying people of African, Caribbean and South Asian descent in Britain during the Victorian era. In partnership with Autograph ABP and part of The Missing Chapter project.

Stik's Pride banner

Until 25 February 2017

Hackney-based artist Stik's bespoke banner for last year's London Pride parade is on display in the Museum.

Madhouse, My House?

2 February - 13 May

Until the 1980s many people with learning disabilities were forced to live in hospitals for 'idiots', 'imbeciles' and the 'feeble minded'. Madhouse, My House? explores what life was like in St Lawrence's using the stories of two ex-patients: Harvey Waterman and Mabel Cooper.
This interactive exhibition was researched and created by members of Access All Areas, a Hackney-based theatre company that works with people with learning disabilities. 

The Golden Age of Social Housing: Life on the Gascoyne Estate

14 February - 3 June

This exhibition explores the role that social housing has played in the lives of Hackney's diverse communities through the story of the Gascoyne Estate in South Hackney.

This fascinating story is told through their own words, using film and their own personal family photographs and memories.

Permanent displays

Discover the stories of some of the amazing people that have made their homes here over the last 1,000 years, from Anglo-Saxon settlers to early Victorian villas and recent refugees. Hackney's tradition of welcoming newcomers means that its history encompasses the world-wide roots of many communities. The displays reveal this diverse and changing history through fascinating interviews, objects and images.

Some of them, like the child's sculpture from Sierra Leone and the propaganda sheet from Nazi Germany, powerfully illustrate the forces that have driven people to leave their homes. Others like the contents of a Yiddish printing business, show the opportunities people have found here to make a living and start new lives. Plus our display of art works from the Chalmers Bequest features historic paintings alongside new commissions from Terence Besmirch, Margarita Gluzberg and Paul Needham. All the family can get stuck in to our hands-on activities - load the Saxon boat, try on a historical costume, bring the spooky ghosts to life or try your hand at making Victorian matchboxes against the clock.

Treasure lost and found: The Hackney Hoard

80 gold American 'Double-Eagle' dollar coins were unearthed in a Hackney garden in 2007, revealing the amazing story of the Sulzbacher family's flight from Nazi Germany. They lost almost everything, and finally had this treasure returned to them more than 70 years later. The hoard represents an extremely rare case of  Treasure Trove law - most hoards are never traced to their original owners.

The Sulzbacher family have kindly donated one of the coins to the Museum where it's now on display. To find out more see the Hackney Hoard in Collections Online


The museum was opened in 2002 with the generous support of the National Lottery.

Page updated: 17/01/2017 10:32:31