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Homelessness museum holds outdoor display in Islington while it searches for permanent home

PUBLISHED: 10:24 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24 18 September 2020

The Museum of Homelessness' Street Museum. Picture: Daniela Sbrisny

The Museum of Homelessness' Street Museum. Picture: Daniela Sbrisny

©Daniela Sbrisny

A homelessness museum is showcasing its collection in an Islington roadside display while it searches for a permanent home.

An item in the Museum of Homelessness' street museum. Picture: Diarmaid WardAn item in the Museum of Homelessness' street museum. Picture: Diarmaid Ward

The Museum of Homelessness’ street collection was launched to coincide with what would have been this year’s Streets Fest, an event for homeless people to access essential services which had to be reimagined this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than congregating in Finsbury Park, Islington Council focussed on outreach on September 10.

Items on display in the street museum included a packet of cigarettes, LED candle and jumper.

“Each object has a unique story behind it and we share it (alongside) the words of the person who gave it to us,” said museum co-founder Matt Turtle.

An item in the Museum of Homelessness' street museum. Picture: Diarmaid WardAn item in the Museum of Homelessness' street museum. Picture: Diarmaid Ward

It will now be at Highbury Corner every Thursday from midday to 2pm.

Matt told the Gazette: “It adds a bit of colour to Highbury Corner, people are interested in homelessness and we had nice interactions (on September 10).

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“It was a nice day and we saw some people we hadn’t seen for a while.”

An item in the Museum of Homelessness' street museum. Picture: Diarmaid WardAn item in the Museum of Homelessness' street museum. Picture: Diarmaid Ward

The street museum was initially set up as a one-off stunt calling for an end to the “targeting of vulnerable people by far-right activists” on August Bank Holiday Sunday outside the Home Office.

The Museum of Homelessness is currently homeless itself - it is looking for a permanent site for its collection and offices, big enough for meeting and workshop space.

Before the lockdown came into force, the museum was temporarily using Clerkenwell Fire Station, where its archive is still stored.

Matt told the Gazette: “We work with and for homeless people to share their stories about homelessness, raise awareness and make positive differences.”

The Museum of Homelessness' Street Museum. Picture: Matt TurtleThe Museum of Homelessness' Street Museum. Picture: Matt Turtle

He said the museum, founded five years ago by Matt and his wife Jess, had about 50 volunteers responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It would need an estimated 250sqft to 500sq ft in a new site, Matt said, and has previously held events in a variety of spaces,including libraries and art galleries.

“We are looking at different options for the space - as an arts charity, we can go about things in different ways and we are open to all kinds of solutions,” he added.

Contact matt@museumofhomelessness.org with any suggestions.


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