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Announcement: Donations to sponsored swim will be matched pound for pound!

Three weeks to go till our Director’s Sponsored Swim to Save the Garden Museum, and we are thrilled to announce that an anonymous Foundation will match your donation pound for pound (up to a maximum gift by the Foundation of £100,000).

This is a huge step towards our target of £370,000 to save the Museum.

The Garden Museum is a charity and is the only Museum in London to care for a collection and archive of such significance, and to offer such a diverse programme of events, exhibitions and learning – but to operate without public funding, and without an Endowment left by a rich founder.

Inside the Garden Museum, photo by Graham Lacdao

The ancient church inside which the Museum is housed was rescued from ruin by volunteers in the 1980s; its £8.2 million transformation and re-opening in 2017 was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (who have been very generous in this crisis), by Foundations, and Friends and Patrons.

Local children learning ‘strawberry science’ at Neighbours Day 2019

We exist through visitors, our programme of events, a café which in 2018 won an award for best museum restaurant in the world, through Friends and Patrons, and through Foundations who support our learning work, from 70 schools a year to community programmes for Arts 4 Dementia and the country’s first food learning programme in a Museum.

Plant swapping at the Houseplant Festival 2019

Whatever you enjoy at the Museum – from the garden to the café, from floristry and food courses to our Literary Festival and exhibitions – it is at risk owing to the pandemic.

Swim route

Please donate £25 or become a Friend of the Museum

From 8-14 October our Director, Christopher Woodward, is swimming 50 miles from the artist’s colony of Newlyn to the garden paradise of Tresco on the Scilly Isles, in order to make up for income lost by Covid-19. It is a journey that was made by boat in 1950 by artist-gardener Cedric Morris, one of the Museum’s heroes.

We need £370,000 to survive – and with 800 individual donations received so far we’re halfway there.

If you donate £25 that will become a donation of £50 thanks to the exceptional generosity of the anonymous Foundation. A pound for every mile of the swim!


Or, become a Friend of the Museum. Friends receive:

  • Free admission to the Museum, to all exhibitions: Derek Jarman and next year Constance Spry, Elizabeth Blackadder, The Secret Garden, Geoffrey Jellicoe and more
  • A Garden Museum Journal, published twice a year
  • And reduced prices for garden visits, more than thirty lectures each year, our annual Literary Festival (next year at Helmingham Hall on 18-19 June 2021) and 10% off purchases in our Shop.


Thank you from the Garden Museum.