The new V&A website

We relaunch today and we know – and hope – that there’ll be lots of questions about the new website. In the meantime, we wanted to give you an overview of what we’ve done and why.

Why have we overhauled the website?

It was time to rethink the V&A’s digital presence. Our website was five years old.

We want our website to bring the V&A to life online. We want to open up the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, events, people, activities, ideas and experiences. We want our digital experiences to live up to the V&A’s physical presence as a vibrant, active, continually changing place. So it was time for change.

What do we hope to achieve with the new website?

We want to inspire more people to visit. Our aspiration is to offer a seamless transition from browsing your iPad on the sofa at home, or searching on your desktop at work to turning up to visit the Museum. So the goal for this phase of our digital transformation is to turn more of the 14.5 million visits to our website each year into visits to the Museum.

We also want to define the V&A brand online. We want to do justice to the collections, the galleries and the people that make the V&A so unique. We now use much larger, richer imagery, so there is a better balance between text and image. There is a bolder use of the brand and logo. And these all make for a more cohesive experience across digital and print.

It’s not a refresh, it’s a rebuild. We’ve created a new editorial tool (a content management system) and a new website from scratch. The new site has been built by the V&A’s Digital Media team with product innovation consultancy Made by Many using open source software (Ruby on Rails). That means we now have the freedom to choose what features we build, and when.

What’s new?

But we’re not rebuilding the entire website. We’re starting on a focussed number of pages, and we’ll build out quickly. So the old website and the new will co-exist for a while.

We’ve gone from this:

homepage pre-launch (April 12 2016) copy
To this:


We’d love you to explore the new website – including the homepage and our current exhibitions Botticelli Reimagined, Undressed, Paul Strand and our Curtain Up display. Browse our collections pages, including jewellery, fashion and photography and find out what’s in our new Europe 1600-1815 galleries. We also have new pages to help you plan a visit or contact us, as well as learn about us, our learning programmes and events, and our research.

To get the inside story on the making of our new website, read more here.

Any questions?

We hope this post answers some of the first questions you might have, but we know there’ll be more! Please share them below.



72 thoughts on “The new V&A website


I use some of your lovely Renaissance pages as resources for my music students…
Do you have an expected timeframe for when auxiliary pages may move/disappear?
How likely is it that current pages will be completely removed (rather than merely updated)?
Thank you!

Kati Price:

Hi Grace,
We’re updating our content migration plan so I can’t give you an exact time at the moment, but it’ll be within the next 12 months. Because those pages haven’t been audited yet, I can’t tell you exactly what will be moved over but, rest assured, they will be updated, not removed. There’s some really valuable content on them – it would be good to hear what you find most useful for your students.


We use the general article “Renaissance music 1400–1600” ( to discuss the musical era overall (and how the culture of the time is reflected not only in the music, but also the physical artwork).

Then we further examine more specific artifacts using the articles:
“Music for the Lute” ( )
“Music for the Harpsichord” ( )
“A notation knife” ( )


Unfortunately, I’ve found that some pages HAVE disappeared – what happened to the Men in Skirts microsite, for example? This does appear to have completely vanished altogether from the site and no searches can bring it up. I’ve found links to it, but the links are dead now. I realise it was nearly 15 years old, but it was still useful and fascinating.

cleo cantone:

I can’t believe the research facility has disappeared – that was what made your webiste so useful. None of the categories I have typed into the search work, not even the museum number. This is a disaster for researchers – at least you could have kept the old page going why you revamp the website. I’m seriously disappointed. Facilities for online research should be functional, not necessarily ‘state of the art.’ Does any one care if they look dated (i.e. five years old)?

lillian thompson:

hican yow help me please what doesn t mean when it says work on each group of sts


This is a disaster for me. I am in the midst of a vast research paper that is due tomorrow (only a three week class before anyone berates me for putting this to the last moment), and none of my links to selected pieces work. I search the archives to find the artwork I selected, and if they pop up, the links do not work! It took me hours to find the four pieces I selected from this museum, and now I need to look elsewhere because my citations are illegitimate.

Kati Price:

Hi Nikki
So sorry for the additional stress! We have redirects in place so all should be working. Are you using the main website or search the collections? My colleague Richard is on stand by to help you, if you email him at r dot palmer at vam dot ac dot uk. If you give him a list of all the links that aren’t working, he’ll get back to you with a solution. Best of luck!

Kati Price:

Hi Cleo
Do you mean Search the Collections ( If so, it’s definitely still there. You can type in museum numbers and other search terms and find what you want. If you mean another part of the site, then do let me know…

Kati Price:

Hi Daniel
We did a tidy up of our microsites quite a long time ago – it was very difficult for a small digital team to support what had become a huge number of microsites on different (ageing) platforms. So, we moved the most valuable content onto the main site. Men in Skirts content can still be viewed at and at Hope that helps.

Kati Price:

Hi Grace
That’s really useful for our content editors. I’ll let them know you find those articles particularly useful, which they’ll feed into their audit.

Orkney MacKnitter:

Well, I guess you “museum professionals” have to justify your existence somehow.

I really don’t give a flying fig about “updated web sites.” It’s the quality of the information that matters, and bells and whistles are the equivalent of tinplate and paste necklaces. You can give me basic HTML linking to PDFs–more content, less fluff.

Another hint: when you hyperlink every last word in a sentence it becomes unreadable. So why not just put cartoons up instead, for the Global Idiocracy Project, where dolt-wrangling is lucrative but excellence shunned???

Katherine Tyrrell:


How on earth did this website get past beta testing without anybody spotting there is no search facility visible on the website? People need to be able to search the website as well as serahc the collections.

I am very upset to find that all sorts of aspects – like Ceramics, Drawings, China, Korea, Japan, Materials and Techniques, ‘What is Craft’ are no longer visible in the collections section of the new website.

Yet again style over substance seems to be the message

This is a ONE STAR rating…..

Kati Price:

Hi Katherine,
No search facility – yet! As I mentioned in my other post (, only 5% of sessions involve search. The overwhelming majority find our content via Google and other search engines. Ceramics, Drawings, China etc are all still accessible on the old site, and we’re moving that content over to the new site in the course of the next 12 months. We did a lot of testing on the new site, and deliberately started small, rather than spending several years launching another big site. Though we de-prioritised search for launch, we know a site as content rich as ours needs a search facility and we’ll be developing that soon.

Chip Graff:

Do you foresee any possibility of the David Bowie is: Exhibition being reproduced either thee or as a touring exhibit. If there is anything I could do to help make that a reality in any way shape or form please email and I will use any and all resources to which I am availed.



Kati Price:

Hi Chip
David Bowie Is has been on tour since it closed in South Kensington. You can see more here: – Enjoy!

Felicity Dawson:

Oh no …. Where are the knitting patterns???? That was such a WONDERFUL resource. So far I don’t find the new website nearly as exciting as the new – you have a long way to go I think. Meanwhile why lock off the knitting?


What would be really useful would be a subscription button for the blog and forthcoming event notification via email. The old newsletter was quite good but now you don’t seem to have any direct “push” notifications (Facebook is not reliable when it comes to showing posts and things get lost in the feed easily)

Lynn aldridge:

Ditto re knitting patterns .

Kati Price:

Hi Ania

We’re looking into how best to allow people to get notifications/subscriptions. Good to know this would be useful for you…

Thanks for sharing.


Kati Price:

Hi Felicity – and Lynn

Sorry, our knitting patterns were a broken link in the move from one system to another. Rest assured – they’re back and you can find them at




Me gustaría tener información, o donde encontrar una foto del escudo de los Caballeros Templarios sobre la capa Pluvial de Sión. Ya que me han comentado que esta en este museo. Es para un trabajo sobre punto de cruz (cross point).
Un cordial saludo y muchas gracias.

Kati Price:

I think you’re after the Syon Cope for your cross point project, which you can find here:
Good luck with the project!

Kimberley Dawn:

I love this site, will you be keeping the William Morris sections?


Clare Rose:

WHERE are the subject hub articles? and the gallery guides? I use both of these to teach BA textile students and will really miss them as they had enough info without being overwhelming. Google search is NOT a substitute – I’m trying to get students to move away from google and to use authored sites like yours. I’ll have to direct them to the Met Museum’s Timeline of Art History instead. Disappointed in the V&A, this seems like a step backwards for what was a fantastic resource

Jamie Dimmel:

Just have to say that for those looking for old articles, they might be found on the Web Archive. And also, this kind of crap where websites constantly move things around is why I always print articles & pages, even if I can only do so through screenshots (if the site lacks decent printing), since websites are NOT trustworthy long-term sources.

Randi Bagley-Goodwin:

I suppose the Patchwork Pattern Maker is no more? If V&A is not going to have that going forward, is there another site/source for it, that you all are aware of?

Christopher J Squire:

This seems very buggy – it has taken me several tries to succeed and I found at the end I had to enter my email address for some news letter (duplicating what I get already) to finish.

The advice to concentrate on yr content and to stop tinkering with the appearance of web pages seems sound to me, though it may seem boring to you.

Christopher J Squire:

As I receiv d no confirmatory email I checked and discovered my order had not gone through. I tried again got ‘authorisation failed’ again so I’ve given up & will try later.

Christopher J Squire:

A further attempt, done with extreme care, has failed – ‘authorisation failed’ AGAIN.

I have in the meantime placed a successful web order with the Guardian so I think the problem lies at your end.

I’ll try again tomorrow lunchtime.

Please add PayPal as a means of payment. It’s easier, quicker, more secure,less prone to error.


On the issues about search and research (some of the related article links are broken) – a link to search collections in the footer on the new homepage is not easy to find.

The bright text on black background is garish and causes eyestrain – not good.

How can I browse previous exhibitions and related microsites/features?

I dislike the new look – what a pity to simplify a rich visual resource into a virtual information desk.

I hope you will take on board the feedback you have received from researchers and educators, and not measure the website’s success by tickets sales.

Kumar Anandan:

I can’t find a ‘search’ field on the new site – am I missing something?

francisco feio:

please don’t take this content down!!!!
I was only able to find it through google and not on your new site. Content is the most important thing; not design
Thank you!

David Smith:

ditto to Randi Bagley-Goodwin’s enquiry in regard to the patchwork pattern maker. .


Hi V&A team!
Having lots of problems buying exhibition tickets – I keep getting ‘authorisation failed’ even though all information is entered and correct.

I’m assuming I won’t have been charged. Can you let me know the best way to proceed?



Kati Price:

Hi Jenny
Sorry you’re having trouble – best to get in touch with

Kati Price:

Hi David and Randi
We know how loved the patchwork pattern maker is. It was built on old unsupported technology so we had to take it down. But we are planning to resurrect it later this year. Stay tuned!

antonia caccia:

I have booked to come to the course called London Life and Times. It firmly says Wednesdays over three terms. But everyday on the program notes is a Friday. I really need to be sure which it is. I did speak to someone at the V&A when I noticed this discrepancy but I nothing has been changed on the website. It is very confusing and if it turns out to be Fridays I won’t be able to attend and would like my money back.

list of emoticons:

Looking at your website day by day makes me wanna work harder T.T because I love these design~~~ I want to bring them home T.T Thank you for sharing. sooo many great design.

Rosemary Crosby:

You need to have a PayPal option for booking tickets.


The new website doesn’t seem to provide any way to find closed expeditions — using google search with the exhibition name (if you know it), and limiting to does work, but that’s definitely not doing things in any way I’d expect.

Sue D:

You’ve mentioned that the old site is still available. How do I access it and how long will it be there? There is a lot of useful material which I can no longer find on the new site.
Thank you

William Ofori-Atta:

September 8, 2016

Dear Sir/Madam,


Our name is Global Artifacts is a registered company under Accountant General’s

Department of Ghana for over eleven (11) years and affiliated to the National Youth

Authority (NYA). We are into Art, Painting, Sculptures, Craft and Handy Crafts.

We have taken part in various Fairs and Festival in South Africa, Denmark, Italy et al.

Our products have market appeal and is a source of funding which is use to train the

underprivileged (orphans, street children et al).

By your favourable response, the organization hopes to enhance and enlarge its scope of

activities and market on the Up-coming event

November, 2016, which shall be

key area for projecting the organization in the above direction.

We will be glad if you could send us all relevant information including your registration

form and invitation letter.

We hope your organization will consider our letter.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,


William Ofori-Atta (Mr.)



I concur with the many people posting here about retaining the educational content from the old site. I’m a fashion history educator and the content you had organised by century and subject (articles and reading lists) was very good. At the moment there is no way to access this content other than via search engine and there is a banner at the top saying the page is under review. Shudder to think! Please V&A be sensible and continue functioning as an educational resources and not just as a spectacle. What is your mission if not the former?

Jen Cox:

I have attempted to access the ‘Design a Tile’ section for my pupils to use as part of a William Morris project but is unavailable. Do you have an alternative method for us to access & use this resource please?


Your competition page has tick boxes for receiving information. It will only let you tick on, like an either/or scenario. Just letting you know.

Excellent job on the rest of the site. Beautifully designed.

Tib Beament:

Dear Kati Price,
I very much enjoyed looking at the new site – the background was somewhat intrusive visually, however, I liked the floating effect of the different exhibitions on top of it. Perhaps the intrusion I feel would depend on the power of the background (I’ve always felt a background should be just that, background). Certainly I will peruse the site in more depth in the future.
“Room 45: Japan” was a great overview of the collection, with excellent descriptions of the objects. The only aspect I would like to have known was measurements e.g. the craftsmanship of an enro or a snuff bottle is perhaps better appreciated when one knows how really small it is.
I wish you success with your continuing digital labours.
Tib Beament
P.S. When, as a young boy I was attending boarding school in Scotland, I used to visit London during my ‘hols’. Either my sister, then living in London, or my mother visiting from Canada, would “park” me in the V&A while they pursued other activities. Thus from an early age the V&A became my babysitter, and I came to know it’s collection as though I lived there. In the subsequent sixty five years it has remained my favourite museum.

facebook login:

is as a peacemaker.. I find debating painful. I am not good at it. plain and simple. I admire those who can do it well. I also hope you will make more and more excellent post and let’s more and more talk, thank you very much.

Gallery Espace:

Indian paintings have a very long tradition and history in Indian art. Gallery Espace is leading to modern Indian painting, Drawings, Architectural Drawings, Indian Fine Art etc. view for more details :


Adding to the many people here who’ve emailed from a research/education background – please, keep the reading lists, the videos (I always direct students to the woodblock printing, printing press, miniature painting etc) – and make them easy to find. It’s all very pretty and shiny – and no doubt the functionality is vastly improved in many respects – but at the moment, for instance, there’s no way of finding videos. And the ‘collection’ hubs don’t give any way of getting beyond the ‘search the collections’ interface and ‘learn more about’ – which is a closed loop with only a couple of objects – no contact details for curators etc. I run an undergraduate module on Renaissance material culture, and really value being able to circulate links to resources, as well as encouraging students to explore what’s hitherto been a very user-friendly site. Thank you….


The new site looks gorgeous, but it is very shallow and doesn’t really represent the range and depth of the V&A Collections. I am greatly relieved that Search the Collections is still there, but please, bring back all the collections pages. Where is Furniture? Where is Metalwork? Where is China? Etc. The historical and technical overviews, reading lists, exhibition micro-sites and links were invaluable and there isn’t another website that I know of that provides this information and is so reliably accurate.


Dear Kati
I would love to be able to view and use the new website but unfortunately it does not appear to work on my eight-year-old Macbook (Mac OS X Version 10.6.8, and Safari Version 5.1.10). That is, the text and images and buttons just seem to dot around the page in no coherent order. I’ve pretty much reached the limit on upgrading operating system and software, and I am disappointed to think that the new website won’t work on older machines. I’m a great fan of the V&A and have enjoyed using the website both for research and for visitor information, and would like to continue to do so. Any advice on this problem would be appreciated.

outlook 365:

Excellent job on the rest of the site. Beautifully designed and well written articles!!

Manali Call Girls:

I appreciate your working style at the end just my request is please share with us some more great post


Hmm. Spent 10 mins on your new website failing to find any information about the cast courts which I need to visit for my Open University course. Mr Google brought me to your old website …

Emergency Lifting Coverage:

Thanks for all the tips and advice and your story truly is amazing.

office 365 login:

Excellent job on the rest of the article. Beautifully explained.

Dr A Deirdre Robson:

We want to book to bring a group of university students to visit the V&A and particularly the 1960s exhibition, after many years of successfully bringing students to your museum. Either you have stopped booking self-guided group visits to exhibitions – and don’t want to state this publically – or you have buried this information very successfully via poor web site design. I am afraid that I really do not find your new website at all helpful.


I know how it’s an awesome game so I real want to Play it haha :) :)

lacquer researcher:

Please retain the mazarin chest pages and content – they are a unique international resource on lacquer conservation.

Frequent Nose Bleeding:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

Patricia Tye:

I have been searching for a Brass Rubbing Plate 46: 1533 A Evyngare and wife, All Hallows, Barking,London

Frances Ponick:

Sorry, Kati, I’m not resting assured (May 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm).

The link to the knitting patterns ends in a Bad Gateway message. Searching on the new website produces unusable archived items. Searching Google provides plenty of opportunities to pay for items that previous viewers grabbed before the patterns disappeared from V&A.

The V&A contains beautiful and priceless holdings, but people like me who live outside of Britain can access them only via the Internet.

As a former technical writer, it seems to me that the website redesign may have been overly ambitious, sadly understaffed, and released prematurely. I truly appreciate the enthusiasm that has obviously been invested in this project, and my suggestions are offered with well-intended gentleness:

Perhaps it’s time to step back, take a deep collective breath, and rethink the scope of the redesign in ways that might (1) reduce the craziness and tension I suspect may be exhausting the staff and (2) restore the public’s trust and admiration for the Museum’s potentially magnificent online presence.


Hi Kati, Thank you for your great article! Very useful tips, you are the expert, thumb up!!!


Brilliant posting bro. This specific is just a highly nicely structured page, just the knowledge I was hunting to find. Thank you


Great article, thanks for sharing. I wish you luck with all of your new projects and rebuilding the site. Keep up the good work.

Genny Nelson:

Will you still be holding Friday Late nights in 2017. I cannot find any reference to them.


I have been searching for a Brass Rubbing Plate 46: 1533 A Evyngare and wife, All Hallows, Barking,London


We want our website to bring the V&A to life online. We want to open up the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, events, people, activities, ideas and experiences.

krisli hyland:

The link to the knitting patterns ends in a Bad Gateway message. Searching on the new website produces unusable archived items.
…as mentioned above.
Your rework of the website seems to be one of those cases of:
“if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.”
Can you please let us know where to access the knitting patterns?

Greg van Oordt:

Looks good, but I’m missing a simple search engine (Search and magnifying glass) at the top of the page, like on any V&A page in the ‘old’ layout, such as this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *