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The Museum of London documents the history of London from prehistoric to modern times. The museum is located on London Wall, close to the Barbican Centre as part of the striking Barbican complex of buildings created in the 1960s and 1970s as an innovative approach to re-development within a bomb-damaged area of the City of London.
The amalgamation of the collections previously held by the City Corporation at the Guildhall Museum and of the London Museum, which was located in Kensington Palace was agreed in 1964.
The museum comprises a series of chronological galleries containing original artefacts, models, pictures and diagrams, with a strong emphasis on archaeological discoveries, the built city, urban development and London's social and cultural life, with interactive displays and activities for all ages. Fragments of the Roman London Wall can be seen just outside the museum.
The re-design, by London-based architects Wilkinson Eyre, tells the story of London and Londoners from the Great Fire of 1666 to the present day. The transformation includes four new galleries. The new City Gallery features large street level windows along London Wall and provides an illuminated showcase for the Lord Mayor's State Coach, which takes to the streets each November for the Lord Mayor's Show.
The Galleries of Modern London increased the museum's exhibition space by 25 percent and enabled the display of 7,000 objects. Star exhibits include a reconstruction of Georgian pleasure gardens, the foreboding wooden interior of the Wellclose debtors prison cell, an art deco lift from Selfridges department store and the puppet stars of BBC children's TV Andy Pandy and Bill and Ben.
The "Expanding City" gallery covers the period 1660s to 1850. "People's City" addresses 1850 to 1940s including a "Victorian Walk" with recreated shops and public buildings, and sections on the West End, Suffragettes, World War I and World War II, and everyday life.
The new galleries place a renewed emphasis on contemporary London and contemporary collecting. "World City" is the gallery which tells London's story from 1950 to the present day. Fashion looms large here - from formal suits of the 1950s, through to the Mary Quant dress of the swinging 60s, hippy chic in the 70s and the bondage trousers and ripped T-shirts of the punk era. Fashion comes right up to date with a pashmina from Alexander McQueen's 2008 collection.