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Homeless museum launch

December 05 2016
The pop-up museum will be coming to the Tate soon...

A Museum of Homelessness, a new London-based project that aims to use stories, objects and art to help people better understand homelessness, has been launched.

For one day only (16 November), the “pop-up” museum co-founded by Matt and Jess Turtle took over the Museum of Immigration and Diversity to explore homelessness in the UK. Further exhibitions and events are planned soon.

The date, 50 years after the release of Ken Loach’s film Cathy Come Home, is no coincidence. As Jess explained: “We reflected on the themes in the film and asked why things haven’t changed 50 years on? Why are people still going through things that are similar – or worse – than what Cathy went through?”

It’s taken two years for the project to get to this stage. It started when Jess and Matt were given access to the archives of the Simon Community in London, a charity that led to the founding of some of the largest homelessness organisations active today.

Now the Museum is a registered charity and the project has developed a set of values to shape its future.

Matt Turtle explained: “The most important thing is that making the invisible visible. We will show all the different aspects of the homelessness experience in history. It’s really about connecting the dots and showing that homelessness is a big part of society.”

The museum also staged an exhibit last year to mark the 20th birthday of Groundswell, a charity is also involving people with experience of homelessness at every level of the organisation. It is also looking for others to get involved.

“That is the most important thing for this museum to have, “ added Jess. “People with lived experience of homelessness, making the decisions, deciding what the event should be, what we should collect, what the exhibition should be.”

Other members of the team have museum experience. And this is only the start: next year the Museum of Homelessness will be taking over the Tate in London and Liverpool, so watch this space for more news.