What is your favourite museum?

Designers tell us about their favourite museums.

Adam Giles

‘Close to home and by far the museum I visit most frequently, is the Horniman in Forest Hill. A wonderful, seemingly endless and random collection of objects that appears to have grown organically since the museum opened in 1901. Rather than confuse, its this eclecticism that holds the exhibits together. Worth a visit alone for their famous overstuffed walrus (tweets @HornimanWalrus) – made all the more magnificent by enthusiastic Victorian taxidermists who didn’t realise that a Walrus should have folds and wrinkles and performed a reverse nip and tuck.’

Adam Giles, co-founder, Interabang

Melanie Chernock

‘The Museum of Sex in New York. Museums have a reputation for being stuffy, overly cerebral, and taking themselves too seriously— and this museum could not be more different. Call me licentious, but The Museum of Sex is a helluva time. I won’t say what’s inside, but when you enter, they warn you to not “touch, lick, stroke, or mount the exhibits.” There’s also an aphrodisiac-themed cafe to check out after—or before—you visit. No judgements.’

Melanie Chernock, designer, The Partners New York

Will Aslett

‘The Natural History Museum, London. This is my favourite museum for a few reasons. As a designer and artist it transports you far, far away from your Photoshop window on the world. It’s a mind vacation. Botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology – get away from everything you’re used to and open your mind. The break will leave you refreshed with creative juices flowing. I’m still waiting for that elusive brief for a digital dinosaur experience to land in the studio. It holds a lot of nostalgic value for me, whether it be from school trips or family days out, the building is filled with memories. As a child of the ’90s I loved monsters, myths and adventure. That’s exactly what fills the rooms and hallways of this prehistoric zoologist time-capsule – you never forget the first time you saw the Diplodocus skeleton staring at you. A Natural History Museum enthusiast is easy to spot. Like a secret handshake, smile, nod and/or wink, the lenticular dinosaur ruler from the gift shop is legendary. Transforming living and breathing creatures to skeletons in the flick of a wrist, this item is itself an iconic historical artefact that – in the words of Indiana Jones – “belongs in a museum”.’

Will Aslett, lead digital creative, the Good Agency

John Owens

‘Propaganda Poster Museum in Shanghai. It was a nightmare to find but made the rewards much more satisfying. Nestled in a residential block and down a basement was a treasure-trove of print from pre-World War II, to post-Cultural Revolution. You felt a great presence of history in only two rooms, which showed even without new technology and methods of delivery that content will always be the main attraction.’

John Owens, founder and creative director, Instruct Studio

Liz Dunning

‘My favourite museum I literally stumbled upon trying to kill some time – The Museum of London Docklands. This museum is in a Georgian sugar warehouse at North Dock in Canary Wharf, a sanctuary of beautiful quiet and calm amidst surrounding skyscrapers. It is full of fascinating treasures all about London’s history. I particularly loved the models of London Bridge, showing almost all 13 incarnations since the Roman pontoon to the one before the current sold to an American for over $2 million! A gem of a place not to be missed!’

Liz Dunning, partner, Dunning Penney Jones

Emily Penny

‘Museums aren’t about artefacts at all, they’re about people. A great museum is an inviting social space that’s lived in, part of people’s lives, and part of children’s childhoods. Local people should pop in all the time, and visitors should be welcomed and delighted. The museum café is critical in all of this. You need brain-food to spark curiosity and imagination, and you need a space to reflect on what you’ve seen with friends. My all-time favourite is the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. Deco architecture, bracing seaside vistas, lunch and art. Total rejuvenation.’

Emily Penny, Co-founder, Colourful Design Strategy

Jon Daniel

‘As a child, I loved the Commonwealth Institute (now the new home to the Design Museum) where my mother would often take me, my brothers, cousins and friends on family outings. As an adult I can’t help but marvel at the architecture of the Natural History Museum, and the I love MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) in New York. But for the sheer pleasure principle, my favourite has to be the Museum of Uncut Funk. Based in New York, this virtual museum is coolest cornucopia of Afro-American pop culture on the planet. An adult candy store that allows collectors like myself to feast on a funkalicious buffet of movies, comics, cartoons, music and memorabilia of the day. It boasts a collection that deserves to be permanently housed in a real museum and I dream of the day when those doors will finally swing open.’

Jon Daniel, Independent Creative Director

James Kent

‘Brooklands museum – a true step back in time. Old boys in brown work coats tinker with engines and polish chrome bumpers. They sit in groups eating tupperware boxes filled with cheese and pickle sandwiches and flasks of tea. They are passionate about their vehicle, be it a Norton, an Aston or Concorde. It’s ramshackle and eclectic but it is packed with things of dreams for petrol heads and typographers – hand-painted signs and ephemera make it an Instagram feast. There are no flame-edged perspex signs or 3D holographic projections, but you can sit in the cockpit of an and old VC10 – and that’s what a museum should be all about – interaction.’

James Kent, co-founder, Kent Lyons

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