News and Updates

Take a look at what goes on behind-the-scenes in the world’s leading museum of art and design. From bestselling exhibitions to hidden gems in the collections, learn about our latest projects, ideas and discoveries.

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British Theatre and Europe: Past, Present and Future – Part 1

Just as the UK begins to re-examine its relationship with Europe, the V&A presents a new way of exploring European history and cultural heritage.  Assistant Curators, Alice Young and Helen Gush, introduce a new European display in the Theatre and Performance Galleries and the upcoming Performance Festival drawing on European themes The new display in the Theatre […]

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‘Door to Design’ inspires creativity in three local schools visiting the museum for the very first time.

Linked to the exciting Exhibition Road development to create a new entrance and courtyard for the Museum which is due to open later this year, the V&A’s Learning Department has received funding for the next three years from John Lyon’s Charity to support its programme for Primary Schools and Families.  The grant funds ‘Door to […]

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Conservation of a De Haviland Aviation Drop Tank

The De Haviland Museum Trust have generously loaned an auxiliary aviation ‘drop tank’ – a supplementary fuel tank carried by aircraft.  This object will feature in our forthcoming exhibition Plywood: Material of the Modern World, 15 July – 12 November 2017. Drop tanks were developed to extend the operational capacity of fighter aircraft and bombers. These […]

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National Art Library Easter holiday 2017

The National Art Library will be closed for the Easter holiday from 17.30 on Thursday 13 April.  We will re-open at 10.00 on Tuesday 18 April.  If you place an advance order after 16.00 on Thursday 13 April, your items will be available by 12 noon on Tuesday 18 April. Wishing all our readers a lovely […]

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 2

Figure 1: Three paint samples from the Angel embedded in polyester resin and polished as cross sections.

  This series of blog entries is about the scientific examination of the gold finish of the Spirit of Gaiety, the angel which once graced the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London. Optical Microscopy A few days ago I outlined the reasons why we are investigating the gilding of the Gaiety Angel. Here is […]

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Henry Cole at the Boat Race

Boat race map

How did your crew fare in yesterday’s Cancer Research UK Boat Race (aka Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race)? After last year’s disappointment, it was a relief (for me) to see the Dark Blues triumph in the men’s race. As Henry Cole (1808-1882), the V&A’s first director, went straight from school at Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, to a job as […]

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‘A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints’ – A Review

‘A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints’ is an ambitious exhibition. It sets out to explore the complex issues of gender identity, social status and sexual relationships in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). It surpasses these objectives and provides a forum for discussion on gender identity and non-hetronorm ideologies. The exhibition’s title ‘A […]

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Guest blog post: Introduction to Wearables

By Anna Blumenkranz and Emilie Giles When we imagine wearable technology we might think about activity trackers such as the Fitbit or clothing which can be swiped to give us information such as the Google and Levi Commuter Trucker Jacket. However, there is also a playful and DIY-craft-based approach to wearable technology. We ran a two […]

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IIIF Workshop & Showcase Report

Last week I attended the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) workshop and showcase organised to great effect by the University of Edinburgh & the National Library of Scotland. As discussed in previous posts, IIIF is a new approach that allows museums and galleries to display and unify their collection images online. Workshop The workshop (run as an Unconference) provided […]

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John Dillon – autograph collector

Nowadays we tend to use the terms ‘autograph’ and ‘signature’ interchangeably. When we ask a celebrity for his autograph, he usually scribbles his personal signature. There is, however, a telling distinction between an autograph and a signature, which the autograph collector Ray Rawlins learned through a frosty encounter with a member of the British aristocracy: […]

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