See the Colours at Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum is one of our favourite places to visit as there is always something for everyone in the family to enjoy, from gardens to aquarium and from music gallery to natural history. There are also temporary exhibitions, and currently one of them is called “Colour: The Rainbow Revealed“.

Set in the Temporary Exhibition Space, “Colour” exhibition can be enjoyed until 28th of October 2018 between 10am and 5.30pm.

As you enter the exhibition space, a huge eye is looking at you. And it’s nothing spooky about it, as it’s there so that anyone can see and understand how our eyes see the world… upside down! “Mom, why is the image in the huge eye upside down?” I was asked instantly.

And speaking of how our eyes see, in the same area there is a TV screen with a magnifying glass so that you can actually see the 3 colours that any screen displays: red, blue and green.

You can then go to the colour cafe: a table with 3 plates with foods that you might, or might not, enjoy eating. On the table you can also read information that explain why you’d make a certain chose based on the colour of the food. And if, after “eating”, you feel like playing, there is a Quiz box for 4 players, with questions that have colours as answers. Next to it there is a challenge game: how fast can you tell the colour of a text when the text reads a different colour? Like “red” written with green, would you say “red” or “green”?

Would you eat blue beans and blue sausages?

Moving on, you step into the world of animals, their patterns and their vision. This is your chance to see with fish eyes, dog eyes or bee eyes.

Seeing the world through dog’s eyes
Can you guess what these patterns are? And how do they help their owners?

And if your kids love puzzles or rainbows or sorting games, just look next to you: there is a huge animal blocks jigsaw, a rainbow puzzle (which we managed to build and it actually is a rainbow, and then a child came to knock it down, everyone bursting with laughter!) and a colour sorting game on a magnetic blackboard. And if your child is a baby/infant, he/she can still have fun playing games as there are, in a corner, lots of wooden puzzles and games and colouring materials.

Can you build a rainbow?
Colour sorting with magnets on a blackboard

After playing these games, my kids discovered one of the main attractions of this exhibition: design your own fish! On a touchscreen, you choose your fish (which is white), you choose the colours and you paint your fish. When it’s ready, it can “swim away” and it will appear on a huge screen standing in front of you, actually swimming in a virtual aquarium! What can be more exciting than this for a kid, to see his/her painting coming to life?

Design your own fish and send him to swim away

After sending around 8 fishes swimming (we were lucky to be there on a Monday morning when it was not at all crowded so no queues), my kids discovered another cool activity: the Art Machine, where you are in charge of a huge “cannon” of colour which you control in order to splash paint on a spinning wheel standing in front of you. And when you are done, you can save and email the image to anyone you want!

Spin Art

Splashing paint is definitely fun. Finding more about the colours can also be fun, if the information is presented as a quiz or through coloured objects and paintings. Speaking of which, did you know that green colour contained arsenic? And that red colour is obtained by boiling female beetles?

After finding lots of interesting information, it might be time to play a little game again and get creative in order to design your own traffic sign. You get to choose the shape and the symbol, the colours of the border, symbol and background, and the text to go under the sign. In the end, you can also email it.

Design a Sign

And if you’ve dreamed of hiding in plain sight, this is your chance, in the “Get lost!” section: with the right clothes (chosen from a box) and the right background, magic can happen and you can simply… disappear!

After enjoying every section of the exhibition, my kids wanted to go to certain exhibits once again, and again, and again. So we ended up spending an hour and a half there, and we only left because they were starting to be hungry (and the “Coulour Cafe” food didn’t appeal to them!). However they do want to go back, they even asked to go back on the same day, after having lunch! And it’s not only them that enjoyed the exhibition, trust me, this is a great place to relax, play and find great information.

So, if you plan to visit, keep in mind that the exhibition is open until 28th of October, from 10am to 5.30pm, at Horniman Museums, 100 London Road – Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ, prices between £4 and £17 (FREE for Members, membership starting at £29/year). And when you go, come back and tell me which part of this exhibition was your favourite!

Did you know: Horniman Museum was founded on the collection of  Frederick John Horniman, a Victorian tea trader who collected specimens and artefacts from his travels around the world in the 1860’s?

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