Boy wearing a gas mask in graphic house style

Our top 10 objects for surviving a zombie apocalypse

Picture this: the zombie apocalypse is upon us, but your only available survival tools are museum artefacts. Luckily, the V&A has got your back. Here are ten items from our collections you could snatch up to protect yourself from those pesky, flesh-eating zombies.

10. Food storage

Bamboo food box with curved handle

You never know when you’ll find your next meal – so pack wisely! Canned tuna can last for five years, dried pasta for eight and honey lasts for thousands. You might even be able to raid the V&A shop for some biscuits too…

Here’s a fun fact about this food box. This box was used for gift swaps— you’d receive food and send a surprise back, to say thanks. Aw, how nice!

9. Tent

White cotton used as a tent cloth

Behold the mighty fabric of adventure — a long, sturdy cotton sheet fit for a tent, which was made in India around 1855. This might not look like much of a tent, but with a bit of imagination and some survival skills this cloth can provide shelter and warmth.

8. Rope

Skipping rope with wooden handles

This vintage rope from the late 19th century has wooden handles and a cotton rope. A pretty simple but practical toy-turned-lifesaving-object, perfect for a zombie apocalypse.

7. Maps and compass

Brass portable sundial

Travel back in time with this 1581 diptych dial designed by the talented Christopher Schissler, named for its two hinges. When opened like a book, it reveals the sophisticated technology of a compass and sundial. In a full-blown zombie apocalypse, smartphones and GPS will quickly fail without proper power. Going old-school with paper maps and a compass will allow you to navigate, staying one step ahead of the horde.

6. Kattar

Combined dagger and pistol

Behold, this combo weapon. These kattars were the ultimate show-off daggers of their time, blending firearms and traditional designs. This 19th century kattar came from Pakistan and was the epitome of innovation and intrigue in that era, so this would make a perfect backup weapon when all else fails.

Skip this survey?
Just a quick random question – you don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to.

Have you heard of the V&A Museum (or Young V&A)?

I found out today 19%

I already knew about it 26%

Nope, it’s new to me 27%

Not really sure what that is 29%

Privacy notice

5. First aid kit 

First aid kit in a brown leather pouch

This 1930s first aid kit is held within a soft tan leather case. Inside, you’ll find a brass-coloured tin holding everything you’d need to heal cuts and zombie bites. A first aid kit can help you treat cuts, bruises and conceal any zombie bites from your companions. There’s no need to worry them, after all…

4. Mask

Mask in black fabric decorated with floral pattern

Step out in style and safety with this mask which was crafted by Esam Ali in Cairo in 2021 as a response to the COVID19 pandemic. Masks offer some protection from airborne diseases and toxins, which comes in handy if a zombie so much as sneezes in your vicinity. A must-have for any zombie apocalypse survival kit.

3. Sword

Wakizashi short sword in a scabbard

This is a curved wakizashi sword, it’s a real piece of Japanese craftsmanship from the 1800s. During a zombie apocalypse, a wakizashi sword would be a great tool to defend yourself. It’s short and easy to handle, which means it’s great for holding off the undead in tight spaces. Plus, it’s cooler than a regular sword, so bonus points for that.

2.  Torch

Black aluminium Maglite torch

This torch is made from aircraft-grade aluminium, so it’s super lightweight. This one was designed by Anthony Maglica, and was made in the USA in 1983. With a simple twist, this powerful torch is perfect for dazzling any zombies!

1. Crossbow

Wooden crossbow

This killing machine can generate 400 lbs of tension to fire a bolt that could kill a stag at 300 yards, so imagine what it would do to a zombie. This well-crafted crossbow was made in Germany in 1750, and could be the difference between life and death. Just be sure to get some target practice beforehand and you’ll be a zombie-sniping pro in no time.

Customised blue and white adidas trainers, with comical stick on eyes, nose and teeth dancing back and forth. 

Promoting the Young V&A museum in Bethnal Green, London. A new museum for creativity. Now open, free for all.