We Are 5

V&A Dundee celebrates its fifth birthday

Fifth birthday celebration to include free entry to Tartan exhibition, live music and opening of Stories from the Building

For immediate release: 23 August 2023

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A special day of free exhibitions, entertainment and family activities are planned for V&A Dundee’s 5th birthday on Saturday, 16 September, marking five years since the museum opened in 2018.

The celebratory day, open to everyone, will include free entry to the blockbuster exhibition Tartan. With more than 300 tartan objects gathered from across the globe on display, including the oldest piece of tartan found in Scotland known as the Glen Affric tartan, the exhibition has attracted worldwide attention since opening in Dundee earlier this year.

V&A Dundee’s fifth anniversary is to be commemorated with the opening of Stories from the Building, a permanent new display on the ground floor introducing visitors to the architecture, design, engineering, and construction stories behind the creation of Scotland’s design museum. As well as concept sketches, material samples and artefacts from the construction phase, the exhibition will show the original competition model for the building. Interviews with the architects, project managers and engineers will be accompanied by a new animation showing the development of the museum’s design and the complexity of its construction.

Leonie Bell, Director V&A Dundee, says: “Everyone is invited to come along and enjoy the fifth birthday celebrations at V&A Dundee. The museum will be open from 10 in the morning to 10 at night and we have a full day of free activities planned, including free entry to the Tartan exhibition, family design fun, architecture and gallery tours, live music and dance performances and the launch of our new display, Stories from the Building. The celebrations will continue outside the museum with pop-up street food and music.

“This important five-year milestone is also an opportunity to thank all our visitors, partners, members and supporters as we reflect on the incredible journey that led to the opening of V&A Dundee, and five years of firing imaginations and sparking curiosity. We’re actively looking ahead to the future as V&A Dundee continues to connect with communities to inspire and empower through design.”

The live music taking place throughout the building will include a unique performance from acclaimed Dundonian musicians Be Charlotte, and Andrew Wasylyk performing together for the first time.

Terra Kin, winner of 2023’s Scottish Act of the Year, Queen of Harps and Kintra, the DJ-violin duo recently selected to play on the Introducing Stage at the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Dundee, will add to the musical line-up, along with pop-up performances from youth dance group, Urban Moves and Dundee City Pipe Band.

Free drop-in family activities will run inside and outside from 11am to 4pm. There will be an opportunity to make your own birthday hat as part of What The Hat! hosted by V&A Dundee’s Young People's Collective. Tartan Tea Party hosted by Dundee-based dance company Shaper/Caper will include music, props, and costumes and premiere the new film Tea for Two, filmed inside V&A Dundee’s Scottish Design Galleries earlier this year.

To help mark the birthday occasion, special curator-led tours of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room will include rare access to the upper floor of the original 1907-designed tearoom. The tearoom is one of Mackintosh’s most important interiors and the first ever object to have been confirmed for the Scottish Design Galleries. Free Architecture tours will also run throughout the day.

Tatha Bar & Kitchen have crafted five new dishes to serve on the day including a Desperate Dan inspired ‘Cow Pie with pastry horns.’ The foodie celebrations will continue outside onto the plaza where Cheese on Coast and Ooni Pizza Ovens with Pizza Geeks will join Heather Street Food, the much-loved street-food business set up outside V&A Dundee in 2020.

Charlotte Brimner, also known as Be Charlotte, says: “It was such an honour to be part of the line-up for V&A Dundee’s opening festival in Slessor Gardens in 2018. Being part of something so special in my hometown is an experience I will never forget. I’m really buzzing to be returning to play my new songs as part of an exciting collaboration performance with the incredible Andrew Wasylyk. This collab is especially for V&A Dundee and it will be great to share the experience with everyone coming along to enjoy the 5th birthday celebrations!”

The birthday preparations will begin on Sunday 10 September with a free drop-in decoration-making workshop with paper designer Kate Colin.

For further information about V&A Dundee’s fifth birthday event on Saturday 16 September, from 10am to 10pm please visit https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee/whatson/season/we-are-5

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