Are you absolutely in love with decorative art? Well, if you are, the Victoria and Albert Museum (popularly abbreviated to V&A) should be on your to-do list, if you haven’t visited already. This museum is in London, and it is the world’s largest home to decorative arts and designs. It has a permanent collection of more than 4.5 million pieces!
V&A houses an enviable collection that spans 5 years of art from various cultures in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, from ancient times to present day. These pieces include textiles, glass, and ceramics. Silver and ironwork, costumes, jewelry, medieval objects, furniture, sculptures, prints and paintings, drawings and photos among other objects that make up this comprehensive global collection.
Let’s indulge in a brief history of the world’s largest decorative arts collection. It was established in 1852 as a follow up to the great exhibition in 1851. The founding principle of the museum was to make it easy for anyone in the world to access global works of art as well as inspire designers and artists. Since its foundation, Victoria and Albert Museum collection has gradually grown and it is now one of the world’s largest resources of design and art.
Today, V&A is a public, non-departmental body of the Culture, Media and Sports Department with a mission to enrich people’s lives through the collection, education, conservation and research efforts. The museum also strives to make good relations all over the world and forms strategic partnerships that allow for cultural exchange, trading, skill sharing, consultancy, touring exhibitions among others.
Apart from housing the largest collection of decorative art, the museum also engages in a variety of activities that raise awareness of the world’s cultures. Such activities include:
This is the first museum to have a department that is specifically established to research on arts and designs. Through the research, people can benefit from museum based learning, collections management, conservation management, and the history of the world arts and design. In addition to museum based studies, a research program is maintained that offers opportunities for post graduate and fellowship support programs with learning institutions.
V&A offers a variety of learning programs that not only enhance the knowledge on the collection, but also improve professional expertise and experience. These exciting courses and events are open to all learning institutions from primary to college students, their teachers as well as other professionals in the art and design field both nationally and globally. The museum also has facilities where in-house learning programs are conducted.
The V&A Conservation Department oversees the preservation of the collection, investigation on their history as well as the display of the collection in the museum. The department is knowledgeable in the rich history of global arts, and is in a position to evaluate authenticity, provenance and restoration of deteriorated historical pieces, as well as carry scientific analysis on all items in the collection. The department is also responsible for conservation training events and courses.
Exhibitions and Tours
There are endless activities that professional groups, students, families and individuals alike can engage in. For starters, there are daily exhibitions, tours, talks, and family activities that visitors can engage in while at the museum.
When thinking of going for a V&A tour or exhibition, it is important to check out the website in order to get an idea of what is on offer. You can get free tours, or paid, custom made tours where you choose the specific places and items you want to view.
For private talks and tours for groups, you will need to work with the V&A officials to state the areas of preference, as well as make the booking well in advance to avoid inconveniences. The private, custom tours can include intercultural and religious exhibits, architectural collections, enviable art collections in galleries, fashion, history of selected global cultural practices, recent techniques and innovations in art, and historical paintings just to name a few.
For family fun days, the museum organizes creative ideas to engage all family members; from treasure hunts, getting crafty, engaging in medieval sports while wearing the medieval costumes, all of which can be documented in videos and photos.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is a must-visit if you are in London. If you wish to come explore the museum’s huge collection, you can start your familiarization tour on their official website. You can also call Victoria and Albert Museum Tel: 0844 850 0148. Keep in mind that when calling their number, there may be additional charges (up to 7p per min) on top of the normal call rates. Make a booking today and know why it is the world’s most renowned museum for decorative designs and art!
Victorian Britain, 3 Wesley Court, Blaydon On Tyne, Tyne And Wear, NE21 5BY.