Size of the V&A collections
How many items are there in the V&A collections?
The V&A collections consist of 221,829 museum objects and works of art which are suitable for long-term gallery display. These are the ‘Display Collections’.
In addition to the Display Collections there are 2,011,464 textiles, books, drawings, prints, photographs and archives which are available to see in the Museum’s Study Rooms or by appointment. These are the ‘Reference Collections’. These items can only be displayed for short periods for conservation reasons, as they are sensitive to light.
At 31 March 2012 there were 2,233,293 items in the Museum’s collections:
- 1,180,172 museum objects and works of art
- 1,052,312 library items (books and periodicals)
- 809 archival collections measuring an estimated 658 cubic meters
(e.g. manuscripts, letters, business papers and paper based items)
How many collection items are on display?
There were 60,039 collection items on display (28% of the Display Collections) in V&A galleries and the Museum of Childhood at 31 March 2012.
The Museum has a continually changing programme of exhibitions and displays as well as a national and international loans and touring exhibitions schedule which provides access to V&A collections world wide. Between April 2011 and March 2012, a further 4,990 items were on display in UK and international venues.
How much of the V&A collections are publicly available?
The collections are available to everyone - in galleries, through the Prints and Drawings and Blythe House Archive and Library Study Rooms or by appointment. You can also search the collections online through Search the Collections or the Library catalogue.