Museum of London’s “Hanging Out” Exhibition Seeks Signs to Capture City’s Essence

Museum of London’s “Hanging Out” Exhibition Seeks Signs to Capture City’s Essence

Staff members at the upcoming Museum of London are on the hunt for approximately 30 signs to feature in an exhibition named “Hanging Out.”

This installation is intended to narrate the tale of places in London where people gather, ranging from theaters and pubs to nail bars and sports clubs.

It aims to encapsulate the essence of locales that foster the city’s sense of community.

The Museum’s collection already boasts signs from establishments like the Eltham Odeon, Walthamstow Dog Track, and Dobells Record Shop in Soho.

However, the curators are seeking the input of London residents to uncover more relevant signs to complete the exhibition.

Beatrice Behlen, the senior curator, explained that these signs would adorn the ground floor of the new Museum of London, scheduled to open its doors in 2026.

The exhibition’s broader purpose is to capture the story of London’s recent history and the factors that have brought its inhabitants together.

“We are saying it is the last 80 years and the main theme is what brings people, and has brought people together, in London,” said Behlen.

“It’s where people come together, so we have been thinking about pubs and clubs and cafes or gardens and swimming pools.

We had a lot of debate about whether shops count, but if it’s a shop where people hang out like the old Topshop in Oxford Street that would work as well.”

An intriguing piece of nostalgia the curators hope to incorporate is a sign from the Galtymore Dance Club in Cricklewood, known as an Irish dance club.

This establishment holds sentimental value for many as a place where people not only danced but also formed connections and relationships.

One potential sign that has caught the curator’s attention is from Look Mum No Hands, a cycling-themed café and workshop previously located in Old Street.

Although the establishment closed its doors a few months ago, its signs remain, making it a prime candidate for the exhibition.

The museum, which has relocated from its previous location at London Wall to a new site in Smithfield, is set to reopen in 2026 under the new name “The London Museum.”

As part of the call for participation, the Museum of London is inviting suggestions for signs that are at least 50x50cm in size.

Anyone with information about potential signs is encouraged to reach out via email to ourtime@museumoflondon.org.uk.

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