Guidelines for using the galleries

Welcome to the V&A’s collection

The V&A has been a source of inspiration for artists and designers for over 150 years. This tradition continues today with visitors from all over the world finding inspiration in sketching, photographing, filming, researching and examining the objects in the many galleries that make up the V&A. At the same time the V&A is a strong advocate for the respect and protection of intellectual property rights which reward and incentivize artists and designers and thereby encourage creativity.

The V&A welcomes visitors to enjoy our collections and in order to preserve the collections and protect the rights of artists, designers and other creators we require visitors to respect these terms as a condition of entry. These terms and conditions govern the way that you engage with and use the objects on display at the V&A within the public museum space and also within its study rooms. Where relevant, permission may need to be obtained in advance to access certain collections.

These terms and conditions apply to any visitors that wish to photograph, film, scan or sketch within the museum for non-commercial personal research or study purposes. Non-commercial means use that is not intended for or directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation.

Any images, films, scans or sketches that you take or create during your visit may be used for those purposes only. Making use of the objects in the collection for commercial purposes or for the purposes of a public broadcast or streaming without our express written approval is prohibited. If you intend to use the collections for commercial purposes or for the purposes of a public broadcast or streaming, please contact vaimages@vam.ac.uk so that terms can be agreed.

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 within the museum.

Film and photography

The V&A allows you to take photographs and films of yourself and your friends and family on your hand-held cameras and phones whilst you are visiting the museum. Similarly, in most parts of the museum the V&A allows you to use that same technology to create photographs, films and scans of the objects on display at the museum.

Photography and filming is not allowed in the V&A’s shops, The Raphael Gallery, The William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery, certain specified exhibitions or where an object’s label indicates that it is a private loan.

Sketching

Sketching and drawing the objects in the museum with graphite and coloured pencils is also encouraged although spray paints, adhesives, fixatives and other wet materials are prohibited as they may contain substances harmful to our collections and visitors. We must also ask you to refrain from using objects, cases or plinths as support for drawing boards. Stools are available to borrow in most galleries for those that need them.

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 avoid causing a nuisance to our staff and other visitors.
  • You do not include any children other than your own in your photographs or films (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 without the express permission of a V&A member of staff or volunteer.
  • 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.

Touching objects

Please do not touch display objects as even the cleanest of hands can damage the surface of objects. In a few galleries where there is an opportunity to handle objects, the objects will clearly be marked with ‘touch object’.

Eating & drinking

Eating and drinking is not allowed in the galleries. Packed lunches can be eaten in the Learning Centre's Lunchroom on the 3rd floor or the garden.

Search the Collections

We encourage visitors to enjoy our Search the Collections resource, which features over 629, 000 images of the V&A’s collections. The non-commercial terms of use for that resource can be found here: Terms of Use as well as contact details for any requests for commercial use of the collections.

Social media

Whilst the V&A encourages you to share your personal experience of your visit, which may include publishing images on social media platforms, it is your responsibility to ensure that the use that you and others make of your images on those platforms is consistent with the terms and conditions set out here. If you do share images online please mention the V&A as the source of collection/subject of image:

  • Twitter: @V_and_A
  • Facebook: @victoriaandalbertmuseum
  • Instagram: @vamuseum
  • Pinterest: @vamuseum

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

The V&A 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.

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