Museum of London Docklands and National Portrait Gallery plan milestone celebrations

Image: Vanity Milan © Vanity Milan

June will see the Museum of London Docklands celebrate its 20th anniversary with a street party, while the National Portrait Gallery announces a festival for its reopening

The Museum of London Docklands and National Portrait Gallery are separately planning to celebrate milestones with festivities in June around London.

Museum of London Docklands exterior

Next month the Museum of London Docklands will celebrate twenty years since it was first opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with a series of events and a street party.

Plans include live performances, street food, pop-up bars, talks and tours, workshops, film screenings, a makers market, pub quiz and after hours gallery access.

Douglas Gilmore, Managing Director of Museum of London Docklands said: “For our 20th anniversary, we look forward to welcoming new visitors and old friends to celebrate this corner of London we’re proud to call home.

“Through our events, we’ll be championing the culture, music and food of London’s vibrant East End and exploring important histories that have shaped the city we live in today.”

The Bow Bells, traditionally said to be in earshot of true ‘Cockneys’, will ring on 10th June 2023 as the Museum of London Docklands marks its opening.

Drag Race finalist and drag queen Vanity Milan (pictured above)will make an appearance at the event, hosting the museum’s East End pub quiz.

National Portrait Gallery forecourt proposal by Jamie Fobert Architects © Forbes Massie.

The National Portrait Gallery has also announced a series of events ahead of its reopening this Summer.

Its First Look Festival will include an in-conversation event with Paul McCartney, alongside a program of film screenings – curated by McCartney – and a photography workshop later in the summer.

Photographs taken by McCartney throughout his time in The Beatles are to go on display when the National Portrait Gallery reopens.


Beginning on 22 June 2023, the Gallery’s reopening date, speakers set to be interviewed also include artist Tracey Emin, architect Jamie Fobert and the Gallery’s Director Dr Nicholas Cullinan.

Visitors will also be given the first opportunities to meet curators on reopening day, as well as take part in its programme of Open Studios, free creative art and photography workshops in its new Mildred and Simon Palley Learning Centre.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery said: “With only 50 days to go until we reopen our new doors, I am delighted to announce the First Look Festival, an incredible opportunity to engage with some of the country’s greatest artists, as well as hear directly from the figures who’ve played an integral part in our transformation.”