From time to the Museum changes objects on display in the galleries.
When we acquire new acquisitions and they have a rational place in one of the galleries, another object may have to be returned to storage to make room in the display.
The V&A has an active programme of lending to temporary exhibitions worldwide, usually for a few months at a time. In the gallery a label will tell you where a piece has gone, why, and for how long.
Even in the carefully controlled conditions of the galleries many objects will fade over time. Light-sensitive materials such as watercolours, photographs and textiles may be taken off display from time to time in order to slow down the deterioration and prolong their life in the Museum. Wherever possible their places are taken by others, a process we call 'rotation'. For open books, one solution may be simply to open the book at a different page. The changes bring the additional benefit of displaying new pieces from store.
Swapping objects in this way involves a surprisingly large number of Museum staff: researching, photographing, conserving and mounting the new objects for display, and of course, taking the objects off display, and ensuring that they are stored properly.