Now that the first episode of Secrets of the Museum has broadcast, of course we’d like to welcome as many people to the museum as possible. But, for those who can’t make it in person at the moment (or maybe just want to spend some time online…), I hope there are ways that we can add to what you might have seen.
Firstly, it’s tricky to keep up with all of what goes on here even if you’re working inside the museum, but if you want to know more about our history then this is a good place to start. We have 100 Facts about the V&A, but there is also some incredible detail about how the buildings you see can see today came to be built.
There are seven miles of galleries to explore at the V&A in South Kensington, and staff based here are used to spending time pointing visitors (both new and regulars) in the right direction. If you’re planning a visit, then the Plan a visit page should have everything you need in the first instance, including a map you can download, and directions to 20 Treasures you might want to see the first time you come. The sheer variety of objects we have here can be daunting, and potentially confusing, but it does mean that there’s a good chance that there will be something here that will catch your eye.
The work of the Conservation team is endlessly fascinating, and if the stories in the Secrets film have captured your interest you might like to take a closer look in person. We film our conservators regularly, and there’s a lot to explore on our YouTube channel. They write about what they’ve been working on most recently here on the V&A blog.
The snuffbox featured in the episode is part of The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, which is on loan to the V&A. The collection’s highlights include micromosaics and gold boxes, as well as portrait miniatures, but online we also have ‘tour’ of an intricately detailed panel made of polished hardstones in a technique known as pietre dure. For that, it’s worth making sure that your browser is full screen.
Clearly, what we really need is something on Pumpie. But in the meantime (and partially in response to one commenter on social media!), if elephants and design are your thing you might like this lift-the-flaps book by Kyoko Nemoto. Apparently everyone knows that elephants can’t fly – except here.