The new building, which will be renamed The London Museum, is due to open in 2026 but Londoners will be able to get a first glimpse of it the year before when a festival is held in and around the site.
More than 21 million people have visited the London Wall site since it opened in 1976 and from June it will hold a series of events, activities and displays celebrating the last 45 years which have seen exhibitions including Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation dress, a Vivienne Westwood show and a major display dedicated to perhaps the most famous fictional Londoner of all – Sherlock Holmes.
Among its collection which will move to the new building are a slice of the 130 tonne Whitechapel Fatberg which threatened the capital’s sewers and the inflatable Trump Baby that floated above Westminster to protest the former US President’s visit.
Also going on show in its new home is the Cheapside Hoard alongside displays looking at the life of a Roman slave and a Victorian-era .
The hoard, which includes around 400 pieces of jewellery thought to have been hidden during the English Civil War, was discovered by workmen on a city building site in 1912.
A spokesman for the new museum said it will “open early and close late reflecting London’s position as a 24-hour global city” with extended opening hours on Friday and Saturday and independent shops and social enterprises in a row of terraced houses around the building’s perimeter.
It will also be home to a world first with Thameslink trains travelling through its galleries between King’s Cross and Blackfriars – the only museum in the world to have a trainline running through it.
Its director Sharon Ament said the institution would “be reborn” under its new name.
She said: “London has been slap-bang in the middle of it all – of culture, of trade and of ideas – for hundreds of years and so it feels right that we’re relocating the Museum of London to Smithfield Market – in the historic heart of the capital.
“This will be more than a museum, it will tell the story of all Londoners – past, present and future; it will be a new civic space for millions of visitors to enjoy, 24 hours a day, and it will be a living, breathing building that buzzes with the energy of Londoners. It will bring a new economy and foster a new relationship between people and the place in which they live, work or are visiting.”
Its sister museum in Docklands will remain open throughout and be renamed The London Museum Docklands from January.