HUNDREDS of emails from the Horniman Museum have been bounced back by computer servers misreading the sender as the horny-man museum.

Filters used by several internet service providers to stop unsolicited "spam" mail such as those selling viagra or enticing people to log onto adult websites have blocked one in five messages from the museum.

And some schools have even been prevented from accessing the museum's website where a range of educational packages on the Horniman's various collections can be found.

Antony Watson, spokesman for the museum, said: "We are currently experiencing some problems with our domain name for email and web traffic. It appears the issue lies with spam filtering software used by a number of internet service providers and web servers.

"At present, tests are being carried out to work around the situation and we hope the changes we have made to our servers have corrected the issue.

"The blocking of email and web traffic is a frustrating scenario because the Horniman Museum is a much-loved and well respected part of the south London community.

"Our website is a hugely popular resource of information for educational purposes and it would be a great shame if our visitors had difficulties accessing it."

The Horniman has three main collections. These are world cultures comprising 80,000 objects, natural history with 250,000 specimens and Music with more than 7,000 instruments plus 1,000 archive documents.

None of these collections have any adult content. The closest the museum may have come to emulating hardcore websites is when a 4,000-year-old sculpture, once thought to be a brothel sign, was put on show. Queen of the Night, from ancient Mesopotamia, was on loan from the British Museum for a few days in April.

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