Meet Gary the Gardener


 The Museum is opening its garden as part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend 18th and 19th of June. We met with Gary, who helped create and has looked after the garden since 1988.
Hailing from Canada and moving to London to study psychotherapy at Regent College, Gary Eisenhauer’s green fingers have been integral to the award-winning garden since its first flowering in 1988.  As he lived close by, Gary began to volunteer at the building when it was the London Lighthouse, initially as a receptionist and working in the residential unit.

Eventually plans were made to improve the garden.  He says the garden was “pretty grim” when they started and it was joked amongst staff that “it looked like a prison exercise area” made up of concrete paving and white plastic furniture. It was so stark and bright “the glare meant you had to wear sunglasses”. The London Lighthouse was central in the campaign for raising awareness about HIV and Aids in the 1980’s and spearheaded progressive treatment for the disease. At the height of the crisis 2000 people a week would pass through the building, and the garden became a place of rest and contemplation. Many of the patients who passed away from the disease had their ashes scattered in the garden. Gary remembers how ‘people also sneaked ashes in and had little impromptu services. It was, and still is, an oasis for people.

We have groups from all over the world coming here at any one time. Yesterday we had a bus load of pensioners, who came to sit in the garden, I told them about what happened here. The Lighthouse is part of our history. The garden and building are still visited and much loved by those who volunteered in the centre and who lost loved ones in the crisis.

One of Gary’s favourite memories is a visit by icon Liz Taylor. “She was very small, like a lot of celebrities. Like a princess she smiled gracefully and when she stepped forward the crowd magically parted in awe.” Speaking of Princesses, the British Royal family were also regular visitors most famously Princess Diana. According to Gary “she would turn up in the middle of the night unannounced and patients would wake to find her holding their hands. The garden was opened by Princess Margaret and the crèche by Prince Charles.

Talking about some of the flora and fauna in the garden, Gary points out some of his favourite features including a Kifsgate Rose which is a rambling rose and the largest rose in England. The garden is “stuffed” according to Gary and has been curated in way so that it performs all year round. The flowers are on rotation and there is mixture of native and tropical plants including lilies, banana, kiwi and citrus ensuring the senses are stimulated by lots of wonderful and intriguing scents. The garden was given a kick start by a huge donation of plants from Crabtree and Evelyn’s display after the Chelsea Garden Show and since then has been a winner of awards and categories including the London Garden Society’s Best Garden.


Gary’s favourite part of the garden is the scented area which is ‘beautiful in the late evening as the scent is really strong. Gary jokingly implies that the garden is popular with ‘the grey-haired brigade’ as gardening is extremely popular and to him as a Canadian the love of gardening seems like a very English trait. He hopes that as the garden continues to grow. School groups can come and learn about nature and young people can be introduced to gardening as a profession.

The Museum of Brands are presenting the magical secret garden for Open Garden Squares Weekend, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June. Visitors are welcomed to enjoy the garden, meet Gary the gardener and enjoy activities for the whole family.

Read more on the Museum’s What’s On page.

Regular Museum admission charges apply.


Press Release: John Lyon’s Charity supports Engaging Young Learners Project at the Museum of Brands

Museum high res cropped              JLClogo2col

KS4 worksheet in use

The Museum of Brands has been awarded a grant from John Lyon’s Charity to increase the number of children and young people engaging with the Museum. The Charity has provided funding to the Museum to deliver the project with young people, educators and families from nine targeted boroughs: Barnet, Brent, Camden, City of London, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.

The Museum will aim to engage 10,000 young people over the next three years, through creating a Youth Panel, new Further Education learning resources and increasing the number of formal sessions to nurseries, schools, colleges and universities from the target boroughs. The funding will help the Museum continue to grow their offer for young people, families and Early Years audiences, in an exciting time where the Museum has moved to new premises in Ladbroke Grove. The funding will help the Museum to be a vibrant local museum for the new area, forming sustainable partnerships with the local community.


Rosemary Cronin, Project Manager stated: “The Museum is delighted to receive the support from John Lyon’s Charity. This will enable us to further develop our important work to educate and entertain the public on the subjects of brands, packaging and advertising and their history. This funding will enable us to build upon an existing learning programme, increasing engagement and enjoyment for our audiences.”

A representative from John Lyon’s Charity stated: ‘John Lyon’s Charity are delighted to be working with the Museum of Brands for the first time, at an exciting time of their relocation. The ‘Engaging Young Learners Project’ will help deliver the Charity’s remit to benefit children and young people up to the age of 25 who live in nine boroughs in northwest London: Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster and encourage more young people to access the fascinating collection at the Museum of Brands.


Information on Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising.

The Museum was established to create access to a nationally significant collection comprising ½ million examples of everyday household goods and related promotional materials, spanning over 150 years of consumer culture. We preserve and protect our extensive collection for posterity and look for interesting ways to interpret the material to connect with existing and new audiences. Our collecting policy ensures today’s everyday products are preserved for the future. In addition to opening daily for the general public, we offer tailored activities to engage with all stages of formal learning, as well as adult, professional, family and reminiscence programmes.


For further information and high res images, contact:

Rosemary Cronin, Project Manager: Engaging Young Learners

Ph: 020 7908 0881




Theresa Macaulay, Museum Manager Ph: 020 7908 0881




Registered Charity no: 1093538

Volunteer Profile: Avriel

Our team of brilliant volunteers work alongside staff to ensure the Museum runs smoothly. Now you can meet them! On the blog we hope to highlight the contribution that our valued volunteers make, and reveal a bit about the work they do here at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising!

Volunteer Profile: Avriel, Education Intern

Team Photo 02

  • Why did you decide to volunteer at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising?

I wanted to work with a museum learning department which had a clear vision yet could still grow. Many museum learning departments have a clear vision but a full program schedule, so there’s not much expanding happening. I wanted to help create programming which would benefit the museum (as well as myself) but wouldn’t be tossed after I left just because it was an exercise for me to learn how to make a learning pack.

  • What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising?

I really enjoy the environment. Everyone wants to help each other and I don’t feel like a nuisance. I really like that I can learn and do at the same time.

  • What have you learnt from your time volunteering here?

I’ve learned how to interact with the visitors as well as my co-workers. I’ve had little experience working in a museum and I did not interact with the visitors much as I mostly did office work.

  • What is your favorite object in the collection?

My favorite object is the R2-D2 from the Star Wars portion of the 1970s. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and he’s my favourite.

Manager’s Move Diary: Part 2

In March 2015 we won the bidding for the London Lighthouse in Notting Hill. In order to take over the new building, our sponsors had to sell the current location.

exterior museum

The Museum took possession of Lancaster Road on 26th June, we closed at Colville Road on 5th July and now have to be out by 31st July! This presents us with a significant challenge.

The Museum is an independent educational charity, we largely run on admissions and venue hire so a period of closure means none of our regular income streams.

Museum venue board room setup small file

We are fundraising for the move but it’s important that we keep the period of closure as short as possible. Many people we’ve spoken to from other Museums who’ve shared similar experiences have told varying stories on the stress and delays of a move. I don’t doubt we’ll face our fair share of challenges.

Museum 1970s tunnel

In our three months of closure we’re not only renovating the new premises, but we’re moving the 12,000 items in our current location and adding more to the displays.

We’re set to reopen in October and we hope to see you there.



Manager’s Move Diary: Part 1

Hello readers, I’m Theresa and I joined the Museum as the Manager in June 2013. I’ll be writing blog posts to share the story of our move from Colville Mews to Lancaster Road over the summer of 2015.


When I joined the Museum it was already looking for new premises. Its continued growth, since it opened at Colville Mews in December 2005, meant it had outgrown the current space.

Education exploring the Time Tunnel

Looking for a home for a Museum is no easy feat but with the hard work of our CEO and Development Director we discovered and secured the Terrence Higgins Trust’s London Lighthouse.


111-117 Lancaster Road was opened in 1988 as an AIDS hospital, and was run by the Terrence Higgins Trust. With strong support from Princess Diana and Elton John the hospital helped thousands of patients and their loved ones.


Over the last 10 years the building has provided space for a variety of hardworking and worthy charities to do their work, we hope to work with many of them in the future. The Museum aims to bring a new lease of life to the building and to the surrounding communities.

The beautiful garden will be maintained as a Memorial to all of those who lived, worked and loved there.


A Trip to The American Food Store

Today a few of us here at The Museum of Brands went for a trip down the road to The American Food Store, to admire the packaging (of course) and to do some research for an exciting new Learning activity!

Our fabulous Learning intern, Avriel, is from Atlanta and so acted as our guide to the treats on offer in the shop.

We were enticed by vast varieties of cereal…

American food

Weird and wonderful cake mix, blue velvet anyone?


And of course Confectionery galore!


When comparing American packaging with the equivalent British packaging, you notice slight differences in the logo, names of the products and the overall branding.

Did you know that British Milky Ways are called 3 Musketeers in America and American Milky Ways are British Mars Bars?! The mind boggles. Please leave a comment if you know any other brands with different names across the pond!

The American Food Store is definitely worth a visit, head to 2 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 3BG, come and see the Museum in the same trip!

Mad Men Friday Late at The Museum of Brands

On Friday 17th May, as part of Museums at Night, we held a Mad Men themed Friday Late night opening here at the Museum.

As fans of the show will know, Mad Men showcases the personal and professional lives of 1960s advertising executives in New York City.

A show set in the swinging sixties about advertising was an obvious choice for a themed event at the Museum, fitting perfectly with our new series of Friday Late Evenings.

In a happy coincidence Museums at Night this year just happened to coincide with the finale of the show!

Fate called and we happily embraced the theme.

The event was a roaring success. Everyone was dressed to impress, with most enjoying a few touch ups from the fabulous Lipstick & Curls. Whilst the lovely ladies at Lindy Bop tempted our guests with a rail of vintage inspired dresses.


An evening highlight was definitely the amazing sound of the Hey Las, the Doo Wop trio blew everyone away with two sets of Mad Men inspired songs. They also looked incredible with authentic vintage dresses and carefully choreographed routines.


Some of our guests were members of swing dancing societies that took the opportunity to show off their era appropriate skills!


All our guests seemed to have a brilliant evening, and so did we! It has definitely inspired us to think about other lates with a decade theme here in the future. Especially if it means more marvellous dressing up…

Here are a few more images from the evening:

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Welcome to the Museum of Brands Blog

Hello world! Welcome to the first post on the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising’s Blog.

The Museum is a charity dedicated to educating the public on design, advertising and packaging though 12,000 original items from the Robert Opie Collection.Museum Heinz various soups

We first opened in Gloucester in 1984, moved to London in 2005, and the Museum has since become a top 10 London attraction!

To keep up with this ever expanding growth we are now moving to a much larger location on Lancaster Road.

This blog will be our way of keeping in touch with visitors whilst we are closed over the summer months, and continue when we re-open as a platform for us to share with you all of the interesting goings on here.

We are very excited to have entered the blogosphere just in time to document this exciting period for the Museum!