‘The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design; we can safeguard the cabinet and care for it, not just in the short term but for years to come, and ensure that it is on display for everyone to see.’
In this series of blogs we’re interviewing various members of staff who come in contact with the Napoleonic Medal Cabinet, which we are currently trying to save from export, to try and find out just what it would mean to each of them if we could save this cabinet for the Nation.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Neide Gentelini and I’m a gallery assistant here at the V&A. This August will be my 3rd year at the Museum. As a gallery assistant my job involves taking care of visitors and the collection. I also man the reception desk for the back of house areas which means I also look after staff and contractors, and their guests as well.
When I’m working on gallery I’m responsible for ensuring the security and safety of the collections and visitors in that space. My work regularly takes me to Room 69 of the Whiteley Silver Galleries on Level 3, where the Medal Cabinet is currently displayed.
This much I know
I am passionate about working for an institution whose founding principle was to make works of art available to all, to educate working people and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today we can confidently say that the Museum now also inspires an international audience. We’re free and open to people of all ages and of all backgrounds. Our collections are now also available online, which means that they can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
I think the Medal Cabinet and the V&A are perfectly matched. As an object it covers so many of our disciplines furniture, metalwork – we even have medals in room Room 111, so it would be a fantastic addition to our collection! The detail and the craftsmanship are beyond beautiful. It would appeal to so many of our visitors, the collectors, the historians, the furniture makers, the silversmiths, even the school children.
If we do manage to save the Cabinet, we are going to put it in our new Europe Galleries, which open early next year, where it’s going to play a central role. There’s currently an export bar in place, which gives us until the 28th July to save the Cabinet. I do worry about where the cabinet would go if we don’t manage to save it in time. It may fall into a private collection overseas or possibly go to another museum, but there’s no guarantee that they will have same free entry, access-for-all policy that we have. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design; we can safeguard the cabinet and care for it, not just in the short term but for years to come, and ensure that it is on display for everyone to see.
The Medal Cabinet Appeal runs until the 28th July.
Read more about the appeal here.
Donate online to help save the cabinet from export here.