Guidelines for using the galleries

Welcome to the V&A’s collection

We have been a source of inspiration for artists and designers for over 150 years. Today the V&A remains a space for everyone to enjoy and be inspired by the collections, be it through sketching, photographing, filming or research. At the same time we respect the intellectual property rights of creators. We encourage you to do the same.

We want you to enjoy your visit. To help us manage, preserve and enable access to our collections legally and safely, we ask you to respect these terms when you visit both the museum and our study rooms. They provide guidance on how to photograph, film, scan or sketch the collections legally for non-commercial private research or study purposes of permanent collections and temporary exhibitions and loans. Non-commercial means use that is not intended for or directed towards commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.

Sometimes we may need to know in advance when you want to access special collections.

We encourage you to use your images, films, scans or sketches for non-commercial activities. We do ask that for any commercial use (including a public broadcast or streaming), you contact our commercial team who will be happy to help. Please contact them at vaimages@vam.ac.uk

Film and photography

We allow you to photograph and film yourself and friends and family on hand-held cameras and phones during your visit. Similarly, in most parts of the museum we allow you to use that same technology to create photographs, films and scans of the objects on display.

Sketching

We encourage sketching and drawing of objects with graphite and coloured pencils. However watercolours, spray paints, adhesives, fixatives and other wet materials may contain substances harmful to our collections and visitors. Please do not use these.

We want you to be comfortable when you sketch and draw. We offer stools in most galleries for those who would like them. Please remember to respect the objects, case and plinths and do not use them as drawing boards.

On the rare occasion that sketching is prohibited within an exhibition or specific parts of the museum, please respect those conditions of access.

All images created by you

All we ask is that whenever you take photographs or make films, scans or sketches:

  • You respect the privacy of those around you (including V&A staff.
  • You are considerate of our staff and other visitors;
  • You only photograph or film your own children (and that includes school groups);
  • You credit the copyright holder for any in-copyright works featured in your photographs, scans, films or sketches;
  • You do not use easels, camera stands, tripods, monopods or external flashes, lighting or microphones; and
  • On the rare occasion that all photography, filming and/or sketching is prohibited within an exhibition or specific parts of the museum you respect those conditions of access.

Social media

We encourage you to share your personal experience of your visit. This may include publishing images on social media platforms. Please remember that you are responsible for making sure that any use you and other make of images or film on those platforms is consistent with the terms and conditions set out here. If you do share images and film online please mention us as the source of collection/subject of image.

Consequences of breach

If we discover that you have breached these terms and conditions we reserve the right to deny you entry to the museum in the future, to take appropriate action to constrain further use and/or to seek financial recompense from you.

Data protection

We will keep a record of any information you provide about yourself for data protection, and security enforcement purposes and, except for such purposes, will not provide that information to any third party and will otherwise comply with all applicable laws (including the Data Protection Act 1998).

Governing law and jurisdiction

These terms and conditions are imposed by the Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum who trade as “the V&A” and these terms are governed by the law of England and Wales and the courts of England and Wales shall have jurisdiction over any dispute arising from them.

It is a contractual condition of your permission to photograph, film or sketch within the museum that you accept these terms and conditions. If you are unwilling to accept these terms and conditions you must not photograph, film or sketch when you visit us.