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Look and touch at the Horniman Museum

Museums are full of amazing things to look at, right? But did you know many museums let you touch some of their objects too?

Photo showing a young woman holding a sitar instrument.

The Horniman Museum in London has a special collection of objects to touch called the Handling Collection.

Here's a sitar instrument from India that you can have a go playing.

All pics unless otherwise stated © Rachel Hayward / Culture24

Here's the Hands on Base room.

It's full of the fab kinds of objects the Horniman Museum has got in the galleries - everything from musical instruments to mummified animals and you can actually touch them.

Photo showing the Horniman Museum Hands on Base room with lots of objects on display that you can touch.

Photo showing a young woman in a red cardigan putting some costumes back on a hanger.

This is Graz Ciuksza, the Horniman Museum's Schools Learning Officer:

"Pupils love the disgusting stuff like mummification. They can't wait to tell me that when a person is mummified, the brain is pulled out through the nose!"

Graz continues, "We have a mummified falcon and pupils can actually smell the embalming spices that were part of the mummification process."

The falcon is currently being conserved - this means it's being checked for any damage by the Horniman Museum.

So that's why we couldn't get a photo of it but here's a mummifed falcon from the British Museum instead.

Mummy of a falcon bird, from Egypt Ptolemaic Period, 332-30 BC. © British Museum

Photo showing a mummified falcon and it is an oblong shape

The British Museum has a great Animal Mummies Explore Online Tour for you to see other animal mummies.

And try our Show Me Ancient Civilisations page for more mummy stuff including games.

Showing a logo with a D in the middle and the words Designated as an Outstanding Collection.

The Horniman Museum is a Designated collection.

Its Music and Ethnography collections of objects are so special and rare that they are of world importance.


But don't worry if you can't get to London to see the Horniman Museum and its collections.

The Horniman Museum has a new website coming soon called Hands on-line where you can have a virtual tour of the objects from the Handling Collection. We'll keep you posted when it goes live.

Other museums, including Oxford University Museum of Natural History, have loads you can touch too.

How about this ammonite? Don't like the look of that prowling T-rex in the background though…

© Kids in Museums

Photo showing a young girl and boy touching a huge ammonite and in the background there is a T-rex dinosaur skeleton.

Website screenshot of objects from the Horniman Museum collection including a stuffed walrus and a photo of a jellyfish from their Aquarium.

Take a look at our other kids' site Caboodle where the Horniman Museum has uploaded some photos of objects from its collections.

Why not become a Caboodler and get photos of one of your collections on Caboodle too?

© Culture24

If you've been to the Horniman Museum or any other museum where you've got a photo of you next to an object you really like, get in touch.

We love hearing from you.