Behind the scenes: Acquiring objects

Before an object is accepted by the V&A it must go through an approvals process which considers whether the V&A is the right place for the object to be and how it will need to be looked after. There must be a reason for accepting each object that becomes part of the collection.

Once an object has been accepted its condition is checked by a conservator, who assesses the state the object is in and carries out any work necessary to stabilise the object's condition.

Each object is then given a museum number and a basic catalogue record is created for it so that all the information known about the object is kept together and linked to the object by its number. All the research done about an object is put into this record and all further research done in the future will be added to it.

The object is often photographed at this stage, so that images of it will be available to the public and researchers.

A suitable display space in a gallery is then found. Any special conditions needed for the safe installation and display of the object are assessed by conservators and the technical services installation team. A curator researches and writes labels or other interpretation to inform visitors about the object. The object can then be installed in the gallery and viewed by visitors.

A gift in your will

You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.

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Disobedient Objects (Paperback)

Disobedient Objects (Paperback)

Disobedient Objects is about out-designing authority. It explores the material culture of radical change and protest - from objects familiar to many, …

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Event - Baroque and Later Ivories in the V&A

Sat 25 January 2014–Sun 28 September 2014

DISPLAY: This is a display of a number of sculptures from the outstanding collection of baroque and later ivories in the V&A, including German, Austrian, Netherlandish, French, British and Hispanic works.

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