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Part of the ceramics collection on display in the new ceramics galleries


How many items are there in the V&A collections?

The V&A collections consist of 233,742 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 2,044,441 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 2015 there were 2,278,183 items in the Museum’s collections:

  • 1,197,637 museum objects and works of art
  • 1,079,668 library items (books and periodicals)
  • 878 archival collections measuring an estimated 727 cubic metres  
    (e.g. manuscripts, letters, business papers and paper based items)

How many collection items are on display?

There were 60,124 collection items on display ( incorporating 24.4% of the Display Collections) in V&A galleries and the Museum of Childhood at 31 March 2015.

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 2014 and March 2015, 4,225 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 Drawing 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.

Become a V&A Member

V&A Members enjoy a wealth of benefits, including free entry to exhibitions, previews, exciting events and the V&A Members’ Room. In addition, you will be supporting the vital work of the V&A.

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