Guidelines for using the galleries

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

Filming and photography

Visitors to the V&A are permitted to take photographs and film themselves, family and friends and make the most of our iconic galleries. Photographs must be for personal use only, using hand-held cameras and phones. Additional equipment such as tripods, monopods, gimbals and lighting is not permitted in the galleries.

Please do not touch objects, plinths or cases while taking photographs or filming.

We encourage you to share your personal experience of your visit on social media, provided it is for private, non-commercial purposes. Non-commercial means that it is not for, or dedicated towards, commercial advantage or private monetary compensation. For example:

  • To promote brands
  • Photographic work
  • Revenue generating posts such as branded advertising, or including paid for affiliating links

When taking photographs in our galleries, you may be approached by our front-of-house staff and asked about the purposes of your photography or filming. The V&A reserves the right to request you stop your activities if they are found to be in breach of its terms and conditions. Please do get in touch with if you have any questions.


  • We encourage sketching and drawing of objects with graphite and coloured pencils or white chalks
  • Please do not use charcoal, crayons, coloured chalks, watercolours, spray paints, adhesives, fixatives and other wet materials as they may be a risk to our collections and visitors
  • Please also note that scissors and sharps cannot be used
  • 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, cases and plinths, and do not use them as drawing boards or make any marks on them
  • On the rare occasion that sketching is prohibited within an exhibition or specific parts of the museum, please respect those conditions of access


You can use standard torches for viewing objects for up to 30 seconds each time, but we ask that you do not use UV torches which can harm the objects.

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 do not touch, mark or damage the objects on display
  • 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
  • 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 2018).

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.