Behind the scenes: The V&A Archives

Saturday 16 November (10.00 am)

Monday 18 November (10.30 am and 2.30 pm)

Blythe House, near Olympia, West London

Due to the high demand for tickets, we are delighted to offer an extra session at 10.30 am on Monday 18 November.

The Victoria and Albert Museum invites you to discover some of the amazing stories hidden within its extensive archives as part of the Explore Your Archives campaign.

Archives across the UK and Ireland are taking part to raise awareness of the value of archives to society and of the rich variety of content which is preserved and made available to users. 

Enjoy a taste Hollywood glamour with the recently acquired Vivien Leigh archive and Paul Scofield’s Oscar for Best Actor

Explore the weird and wonderful world of Eduardo Paolozzi’s Krazy Kat Arkive of Twentieth-Century Popular Culture

Uncover controversial moments in the V&A’s history such as the suffragette plots and Saatchi & Saatchi’s ‘Ace Caff’ advertising campaign.   

These are just a few highlights from our diverse and fascinating archive collections. You’ll also enjoy behind the scenes tours of the stores and learn about what we collect, how we look after it, and how the archives are used.

Places are limited and early booking is recommended. Visits last for approximately two hours and tickets cost £7.50.

To book a place please call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

You can also book online 24 hours a day through What’s On, although a handling charge per transaction applies.

The V&A Archive of Art and Design holds the archives of individuals and groups involved in all aspects of the art and design process who have taken a place in history through their work and their achievements. Through the records collected and conserved by the Museum, you will see something of the impact made by fashion designers, artists, architects and graphic designers.

Selection of toys from Eduardo Paolozzi’s Krazy Kat Arkive of Twentieth Century Popular Culture

Selection of toys from Eduardo Paolozzi’s Krazy Kat Arkive of Twentieth Century Popular Culture. Archive of Art and Design, AAD/1985/3. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A Archive is the repository for the Museum’s institutional records. It supports research into the history and collections of the V&A, and the broader history of art and design. You will be introduced to some of the colourful individuals and incidents that helped shape the V&A over the last 150 years.

Cast of Trajan's column

Photograph of the cast of Trajan’s column (REPRO.1864-128) being erected c.1873. V&A Archive, MA/32/29 negative 9876. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A Theatre & Performance Collections hold unrivalled archives of performance in the UK. From our archives, and our stored collections of costumes, posters and other objects, you can learn about not only the performers but also the other people who have a place in the history of theatre. These include writers, choreographers, designers, the backstage crew, investors, and of course, the audience.

Photograph of Vivien Leigh as Emma Hamilton in That Hamilton Woman, 1941. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

You’ll be amazed what you might uncover
Explore Your Archive.
Find out more visit

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