Show+Tell+Share – presenting V&A collections to future audiences

About the Project

This project prototypes ways to increase the relevance of V&A collections to future audiences through better display of – and access to – the incredible objects in our care. We explore how to enhance the social relevance of our collections and to empower our visitors to contribute to their curation.


Display methods have not changed significantly for the last 150 years. Yet millennial audiences are looking for more compelling ways to encounter our objects. We want to bring in new, and more diverse audiences and need to understand the barriers they currently face in accessing the Museum. This project takes place during an exciting time for the V&A, which presents unique research opportunities. The next five years will see the redevelopment of the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, and the creation of a collections and research centre at Here East and a new museum at Stratford Waterfront.


Our three research questions are: how can we increase direct engagement and interaction with the V&A’s objects and knowledge? How can we make the V&A’s collections more relevant to future generations? What is the potential to increase the relevance of our collections to a local and global audience? Three research strands focus on the museum object; on big data; and on public engagement. Together they explore current and potential future barriers to access, how to respond to the changing expectations for access to the collections on- and offline, and new approaches to overcome these barriers.


We will develop a series of models to improve encounters between our audiences and our collections. The object strand will identify emerging technologies that can speed up the movement of objects so staff can more nimbly create and curate displays. The data strand will explore how big data can reveal ways to reducing barriers to access our collections and forecast themes that will be most relevant our audiences. The public engagement strand explores ways to empower people to participate in the curation of our objects, and to increase the relevance of our collections to society.

Project updates
23 September 2019
In exchange for your data
Exploring the correlation between shopping habits and the V&A’s audience
31 May 2018
New modes, methods and meanings for access to collections: Show+Tell+Share
The V&A has a strong reputation as an innovator in the conservation, display and interpretation of objects, but there are many good reasons to experiment and innovate in this area. Researching and trialling new modes,...
The Team
Catherine Ince
Project Lead

Catherine Ince replaced Sandra Smith as Project Lead responsible for the object and public engagement strands of the project in 2019. Catherine is Chief Curator, V&A East. The V&A East project will create two interconnected sites in Queen Elizabeth Ol ... see more

Kati Price

As project co-lead, Kati is responsible for the data strand of the project. As Head of Digital Media and Publishing at the V&A, Kati leads content development across digital and print, and explores ways that technology can help improve the visitor exp ... see more

Sandra Smith
Former Project Lead

Sandra was responsible for the object and public engagement strands of the project. As former Head of Conservation and Technical Services she had an overview of the risks and vulnerabilities of collections and the way in which these can be mitigated t ... see more

Dr Cara Gray
Object Research Fellow

Appointed as research fellow in 2018, Cara will review existing, and explore potential, object access and engagement opportunities at the museum - with a view to improving collections access. Part of the work of her fellowship is to look beyond the mu ... see more

Dr Julian Hartley
Data Research Fellow

Appointed as research fellow in 2018, Julian will review current museum practices and explore new technologies and innovative data configurations. Julian’s area of interest and expertise is concerned with the way digital technology changes, and challe ... see more

Matilda Pye
Public Engagement Fellow 

Matilda is exploring future audience trends and new ways to increase the social relevance and reach of the V&A's collections. Matilda has worked in public programmes in museums and galleries for more than 15 years including Tate, National Portrait Gal ... see more

Background image: Elytra Filament Pavilion cells, 2016. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London