V&A Gallery Research

View of the Architecture Gallery

View of the Architecture Gallery

When we start developing new galleries, the first thing we try to do is a Baseline Study of the old galleries that are going to be transformed. This gives us valuable information that can be used comparatively when the new galleries are opened.

Then, as we start developing the rationale for the new gallery, we test concepts and ideas with our prospective visitors, and talk to them about how they would approach the proposed galleries. This is the Front-end Evaluation stage.

We also ask for visitors' feedback on various different types of interpretation that we are considering for the new galleries. One of the difficulties we have encountered is that people find it hard to assess these things theoretically. They needed to see concrete examples. Therefore as part of Formative Evaluation, we test mock-ups and prototypes for all the different types of interpretive devices that we are thinking of using in the galleries, including interactives and labels.

Finally, when the new galleries open we conduct summative evaluation. These are surveys that are comparable with the baseline and/or front-end studies. This gives us a broad-brush overview of visitors' responses and checks that we have done everything we set out to do.

Sometimes we carry out other surveys a few months after the galleries have opened. For example, for the British Galleries, a demographic survey was carried out again six months later. We then commissioned two in-depth studies on specific aspects: one about the Study Areas, Discovery Areas, Film Rooms and display issues; the other about individual interpretative devices.

List of reports

British Galleries research

Baseline study
Formative studies
Prototyping: AV, low-tech interactives & text
Prototyping computer interactives
Summative evaluation

Following this research, we developed a set of text guidelines. Their principles are now being applied throughout the Museum. The guidelines also include a section on the V&A house style and terminology.

Download: Gallery Text Guidelines for the British Galleries (PDF file, 359.9 KB)

You may need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to read some of these files. To download it go to the Adobe website.

Strawberry Thief Free iPad Game

Strawberry Thief by BAFTA award wining games designer Sophia George is a playful celebration of the work of Victorian designer William Morris. Uncover the famous Arts and Crafts design by drawing on your screen with your finger and watch your iPad transform from blank paper to an animated masterpiece.

Download now

Shop online

In Black and White: Prints from Africa and the Diaspora (Paperback)

In Black and White: Prints from Africa and the Diaspora (Paperback)

Print has always been an art form for everyone – relatively cheap to produce and easy to distribute, and intended to be accessible to all. I…

Buy now

Event - Discovering Rembrandt

Tue 10 February 2015 15:30

Join Christine Sitwell, Paintings Conservation Adviser for the National Trust, as she discusses the recently reattributed painting Self Portrait of Rembrandt to the master himself.

Book online