I’m delighted to share the news that the third series of Secrets of the Museum will return to our screens on BBC Two at 20:00, from Thursday 7 April 2022.
Just as with series one and two, the show will champion and celebrate stories of creativity from across the V&A, showcasing objects from both our historic and contemporary collections and sharing insights from those who care for them – curators to conservators, exhibition managers, designers to museum technicians, and many others.
This series will tell an even broader story of the V&A’s activity across the UK, taking viewers out of London and across the V&A’s family of museums and partner institutions – from V&A Dundee, and V&A Wedgwood Collection in Stoke-on-Trent, to the development of our new sites V&A V&A East and Young V&A. We also follow objects on loan to Blackpool’s new Showtown Museum and trace new acquisitions back to their creative origins. For the past 8 months, cameras have followed V&A experts across these sites as they research, plan and prepare for upcoming exhibitions and acquisitions.
In episode one, we follow the curatorial team behind Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature as they head up to the Lake District, hoping to discover the mystery location that inspired the house of Beatrix Potter’s best loved character, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. Whilst the curators hike the trail at Cat Bells, textile conservators prepare and mount two intricate 16th-century waistcoats destined for display in the exhibition. Sketched by Potter in her lifetime, the waistcoats were the source of inspiration for her second novel The Tailor of Gloucester.
Meanwhile in our British Galleries, the technical team hang a recently acquired portrait by contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley ahead of a special visit from the portrait’s sitter, Melissa Thompson. The work will be displayed at South Kensington before moving to its new home at V&A East Museum from 2025.
Cameras will take us inside our existing stores at Blythe House as the team prepare for the world’s largest house move: the decant of our archives and collections to V&A East Storehouse at Here East in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Park. In the episode, the decant team tackle some of the museum’s most hazardous objects, from samurai swords and 19th-century poison arrows to 20th-century hats laced with arsenic.
Finally, objects from the Tommy Cooper archive are selected and prepared to go on loan to the new Showtown museum in Blackpool. As part of this preparation, the curator visits the new Blackpool museum, as well as the Winter Gardens where Tommy performed, meeting with Tommy’s friend and fellow performer, Jimmy Tarbuck along the way.
Many more stories feature across the series, and we hope you enjoy these episodes as much as we do. You can also join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, where we’ll be bringing the series to life with weekly posts behind the scenes revealing more about museum life.
Since restrictions on public institutions lifted, our galleries have once again been filled with visitors exploring our collections, discovering new galleries and experiencing our exhibitions – from Beatrix Potter to Faberge and Fashioning Masculinities. Our hope is that the breadth of activity covered in this series will inspire a visit to one of the V&A museums, in South Kensington, Stoke-on-Trent or Dundee in the months to come: and with the V&A in South Kensington open again 7-days from April, it’s the perfect time to plan a visit.
We hope you enjoy the series!