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Portrait photograph of Henry Cole, by A.J.Melhuish, 1870. Museum no. PH.355-1886

Portrait photograph of Henry Cole, by A.J.Melhuish, 1870. Museum no. PH.355-1886

The Sackler Lecture (formerly known as the Henry Cole Lecture) is an annual lecture that celebrates the legacy of the Museum's founding director and explores its implications for museums, culture and society today.

The inaugural lecture was delivered by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling on 30 October 2008.

The 2015 Sackler Lecture

Delivered by Boris Johnson, 29 January 2015

The Sackler Lectures celebrate the legacy of the Museum’s founding director Henry Cole and explore its implications for museums, culture and society today. This year’s lecture was given by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, which focused on his vision to transform the Olympic Park into a world-class hub for culture and the creative industries. With presentations also given by Tim Reeve (V&A), Alistair Spalding CBE (Sadler’s Wells) and Frances Corner OBE (University of the Arts).

View transcript of video

The 2010 Henry Cole Lecture

'The Curious Brain in the Museum'

Delivered by Professor Uta Frith, 18 November 2010

In this lecture, leading developmental psychologist and self-confessed 'museum addict', Professor Uta Frith (Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London and Research Foundation Professor at the Faculties of Humanities and Health Sciences, University of Aarhus, Denmark) discusses the historical connections between science and art at the V&A and asks 'What goes on in the mind of people who visit the museum?'

View transcript of video


In this accompanying film commissioned by the Royal Society in connection with the 2010 Henry Cole lecture, Uta Frith discusses the issues raised from a child's perspective of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

View transcript of video

The 2009 Henry Cole Lecture

'Do museums matter? Looking beyond cultural nationalism in Asia'

Delivered by Professor Hongnam Kim, 7 July 2010.

In this lecture, Professor Kim, former Director of the National Museum of Korea and a leading thinker on cultural policy, explores the changing roles of cultural institutions in Korea and other Asian countries rising to the challenge of demonstrating their value to their societies in the post colonial era.

View transcript of video

The 2008 Henry Cole Lecture

'We Must Have Steam: Get Cole! Henry Cole, the Chamber of Horrors, and the Educational Role of the Museum'

Delivered by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, 30 October 2008.

In this lecture, Frayling presents new research on the 'Chamber of Horrors' (a contemporary nickname for one of the V&A's earliest galleries, 'Decorations on False Principles', that opened in 1852) and the myths and realities of its reception, and opens up a wider debate on design education and museums from the 19th century to the present day.

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.