Secrets of the Museum

Secrets of the Museum is a six-part documentary made by Blast! Films for BBC Two. Broadcasting weekly from 6 February 2020, it goes behind the scenes at the V&A – showing the work of our curators and conservators.

The first episode traced the care of a perennial favourite from the V&A Museum of Childhood, Pumpie the Elephant, along with a look at our preparation for the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition.

Over the series, the films explore the variety of the collections and the complexities in preparing them for display in our galleries. UK audiences can see the programme on iPlayer here.

Pumpie the Elephant was made in about 1900 by the children of the Cattley family, who lived in Ealing, West London. He is currently dressed as a sailor in dark blue wool, and his jacket is decorated with brass buttons – but he has several other outfits for dressing up, including a kilt and a green velvet jacket. He was clearly played with a lot, but has also been attacked over time by moths, and the film traces Pumpie as he is carefully prepared for travel to an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

To accompany each episode, there are updates on our blog, highlighting ways to continue exploring objects and exhibitions featured.

"A stately, fascinating new series rummaging through the treasures of the Victoria and Albert Museum".

The Daily Telegraph