Exhibitions to see in 2015

Inspired by the ‘ones to watch’ lists that turn up this time of year, I’ve put together a list of exhibitions to look out for and forward to in 2015. TimeOut published a similar list, and some of their suggestions are included here, but I wanted to highlight exhibitions outside of London too, and focus on history museums and exhibitions.

If you have any further suggestions of exhibitions opening in 2015 please do reply in the comments or on Twitter – especially if they’re outside of London as I’m well aware this list is still skewed towards where I live.

Black Cultural ArchivesStaying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience , 1950s-1990s‘, Jan 15th – June 30th

The BCA’s new exhibition is the result of ‘Staying Power’, a collaborative project with the V&A. All of the photographs in the exhibition are drawn from the V&A collection, and are accompanied by oral history testimonies. Do make time to see the UK’s first African and Caribbean War Memorial in the courtyard of the BCA too.

Jewish Museum (London), ‘Your Jewish Museum: Love‘, Jan 20th – April 19th

What does Love mean to you?’ asks the Jewish Museum. This exhibition will be showcasing objects, artefacts and art all inspired by love. Sounds like a fantastic examination of the cultural and material history of love, especially as it is crowd-sourced.

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, ‘Hockney: A Rake’s Progress’, Jan 31st – June 14th

Hogarth and Hockney sounds like a perfect combination. This exhibition is timed to coincide with ‘William Hogarth: Painter and Printmaker’, running at the same museum from May 16th – August 31st.

Sutton House, ‘126’, Feb 4th – March 29th

This is Sean Curran’s 2nd LGBTQ exhibition for Sutton House – check out the details here and trailer below

People’s History Museum, ‘Election! Britain Votes‘, Feb 14th – June 28th

In the lead up to the general election in May, the PHM will be hosting a series of events and hosting ‘Election!’, which includes an object from every general election since 1906.

What’s really exciting about this exhibition is that it will change, evolve and flow in the lead up to the election. I’m really looking forward to hearing how this works out – it sounds like a great showcase of the role of museums in society.

British Library, ‘Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy’, March 13th – Sept 1st

One of many events and exhibitions this year to mark the 800th anniversary of the granting of the Magna Carta.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall, ‘Viking Voyagers’, March 20th – Feb 22nd 2017

‘Viking Voyagers’ will aim to humanise the Vikings and show them as a maritime culture – exploring what’s behind the many myths associated with them.

Geffreye Museum, ‘Homes of the Homeless: Seeking Shelter in Victorian London’, March 24th – July 12th

This exhibition draws on research carried out by the Royal Holloway based project, ‘At Home in the Institution? Asylum, School and Lodging House Interiors in London and South-East England, 1845-1914’. It will give a voice to the homeless of Victorian London, as well as explore homelessness in the capital today.

Check out the recent Guardian article on the exhibition.

British Museum, ‘Defining Beauty: the Body in Ancient Greek Art’, March 26th – July 5th

It doesn’t take much walking around the BM to find a naked Ancient Greek body, but this exhibition will draw works of art together to explore ways that the Greeks presented and celebrated bodies in life and art.

Ashmolean Museum, ‘Love Bites: Caricatures by James Gillray‘, March 26th – June 21st

In the wake of the tragic events in Paris last week, and despite his anti-French themes, this exhibition on Gillray’s satirical caricatures seems particularly important. I don’t know if it’ll be included in the exhibition, but the image below is my favourite by him.


James Gillray, ‘Fashionable Contrasts;—or—The Duchess’s little Shoe yeilding [sic] to the Magnitude of the Duke’s Foot’. 1792 [WikiCommons]

There’s also an exhibition on his contemporary, Thomas Rowlandson, at Bath’s Holbourne Museum until Feb 15th, which is well worth checking out.

National Print Museum of Ireland, ‘Modern Wife, Modern Life’, July 1st – August 30th

This exhibition, curated by Ciara Meehan, will draw on women’s magazines to explore the ”ideal wife’ turned ‘modern wife’ in 1960s Ireland. Check out the exhibition website for images of objects that will be on display, information about the magazines, or to get involved.

Manchester Museum, ‘Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt’, Sept – March 2016

The University of Manchester’s Museum will be presenting a range of mummified animals alongside cultural artefacts to explore the practice of mummifying animals in ancient Egypt. ‘Gift for the Gods’ will also discuss our fascination with Egyptian culture and history, including how the mummies were discovered and brought to the UK.

National Maritime Museum, ‘Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire and Revolution’, Nov 20th – March 28th 2016

NMM aims to echo the vibrant personality of Samuel Pepys in this exhibition which uses his voice and personality to explore seven themes of the period between the execution of Charles I (1649) and the Glorious Revolution (1688). With over 200 objects, it will cover: Execution and Commonwealth; Restoration; King and Court; Plague and Fire; Control of the Seas; Science and Society and concluding with ‘Glorious’ Revolution.

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