Victoria and Albert Museum
Museum, collections and their histories
The idealist enterprise and the applied arts
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Industrial arts and the exhibition ideal
Teaching by example
An encyclopedia of treasures
The empire of things
National consciousness
Collecting the Twentieth Century
a grand design, a history of the Victorian and Albert Museum


A grand design reveals the way in which a great museum came into being and has grown over almost one hundred and fifty years. It is a fascinating story, full of extraordinary characters, great works of art, many triumphs, and some disasters. No institution stands still, and the history of the Victoria and Albert Museum reflects the ways in which society, taste, perception, and scholarship have changed over the years.

This microsite has been adapted from the book 'A Grand Design - The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum' which was published to support the exhibition of the same name. To reflect the structure of the book the site is divided into essays, listed in the navigation to the left of the screen. Each essay contains the relevant illustrations and is followed by the images of objects and their catalogue entries from the book. Footnotes follow at the end of each essay. Authors of essays and catalogue entries are credited with each piece.