V&A Faces

V&A Faces gives an insight into the everyday lives and opinions of the Front of House Staff. We recount our experiences, secret passions and memorable events, as well giving useful hints and on how to make the most of your visit to the world’s leading museum of art and design.

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Libraries: Pleasure & Pain

Joseph Sparkes Hall 'Book of the Feet' photographed in the gallery of the NAL.
©Anita Capewell

Anita Capewell, a V&A volunteer working with the Visitor Experience team and in the NAL, follows a trail that begins with a tiny leather bound copy of ‘The Book of the Feet’ in the National Art Library and ends up, via Queen Victoria’s boots, in a galaxy far, far away. As you enter the Shoes: […]

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Blazing an angelic trail

Angel 2B

  With the festive season under way and the world facing dark times, what could be better than wandering around the V&A searching for a host of benevolent guardians to keep us safe. And, much as I admire their work, I’m not talking about the security team! The concept of what in modern Britain we […]

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My pain and pleasure – a life in shoes

fabulous shoes

The V&A’s upcoming Shoes exhibition seemed like as good a time as any to reveal a guilty secret – I’m Karin and I’m a shoe-aholic. I should explain that my friends call me Imelda and I have a long history with every kind of shoe you can think of – as I sit here writing […]

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Why the V&A Gay and Lesbian Tour is Essential

Glynn Christian in front of Giambologna's Samson Slaying a Philistine at the V&A

Dan Vo examines how the V&A’s new LGBTQ Tour came to be, and why it is needed. My eye scans down the poster and is drawn to a rather handsome tail on the letter Q. The notice is headed ‘V&A Tours and Talks’, and the line I am reading says, ‘16.00 LGBTQ Tour (last Saturday […]

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Welcoming the world to the V&A

Volunteers at V&A

Communication is a tricky thing – get it right and everyone’s happy, get it even slightly wrong and all sorts of trouble ensues. At the V&A we volunteers do our best to understand what people are asking for in a thousand different tongues. Many of our volunteers have language skills either because of nationality or […]

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Making Connections

Casket with saints and other figures, carved ivory on wood, painted and gilt, possibly Sicily or Southern Italy, c.1100-1200. Museum no. 603-1902 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As a student at the Courtauld Institute of Art my perception of the V&A’s collections is often shaped by my art historical studies. Over the last couple of years I have experienced the museum both as a student and as a volunteer. I have been volunteering as a Welcoming Ambassador at the V&A for a […]

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So far.

I have decided to become a volunteer on my second year of university. I am studying history of art and I am interested in every aspect of “behind-the-scenes” of art institutions. When I made this decision I started doing my research for placements on-line and (like a sign from Heaven) Victoria and Albert Museum was […]

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Madam, breakfast is served

The V&A Café was originally established as a restaurant, in which Victorian folk could purchase a reasonably priced evening meal, before exploring the vast collections. However, for me, breakfast, not dinner, is the most inspiring meal of the day. That said, fast-forward 157 years, and you can get a very hearty breakfast at today’s V&A […]

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The Sorry Tale of Saint Ursula

For sheer drama and eccentric plot, there is little to beat ‘The Martyrdom of St Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins,’ a Northern Renaissance painting which shows poor Ursula and her companions being slaughtered by a band of Huns. The picture can be found in room 50b, within the Medieval and Renaissance galleries. According to legend, […]

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A journey that led me to the V&A

In 2006, a journey that would change my life began. I had been a London Cabbie (taxi driver) for forty years, but I became seriously ill, and after major surgery, I decided to retire. This meant I had lots of free time, and given that I had never achieved anything of an academic nature, I […]

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