Victoria and Albert Museum History
If you are going to visit London, include this museum in your diary. Even if you hate art and have no time for museum, this venue is a must have for any tourist, even for that one, who has come here just for several days.
Victoria and Albert Museum is not just the heart of British art and fashion, it is the most precious coin in the world coin box.
The museum occupies the 14th place among the most magnificent museums in the world. It is the largest museum of applied arts and the oldest one in Europe.
The story of this venue begins in 1851. That very year a great exhibition was organized in London. Different countries presented their works of art there and the English King and Queen liked the beauty and range of the exhibition and were impressed by the income they have got. The idea to open a large museum, where different objects of art, gathered from various countries, would be presented, seemed interesting to the noblest people in Great Britain. In a year the museum had been opened but it was named “The Museum of Manufactures” then.
Since then the aim of the museum was to educate the masses. This goal sounds so unusual, because the museum is the symbol of luxury and at the same time its main aim is to care about poor people, not about earls, dukes, princes and princesses.
The museum occupied a small building, when it was just founded, and later, in 1899 it was named Victoria and Albert Museum. It was fair, because the King and the Queen had spent thousands of pounds for its development and many valuable collections had been donated to the museum by this royal spouse.
The museum is impressive – you can understand it at first sight, when you just see its building. Huge, extensive, praiseworty, it stands just in the midst of the greatest English city. It is impossible to cover it out for the first time, to study it thoroughly, to visit all permanent and temporary exhibitions; you should spend at least one month there. To make the museum comfortable for the guests, it is divided into four sections. They are called “Asia”, “Furniture, Textiles and Fashion”, “The Sculpture, Metal, Ceramics and Glass” and “Word and Image”.
- If you come to the first section, you will see the heritage of Asian countries. There are more than 160, 000 exhibits in this section, so this Asian collection is one of the largest of that kind in the world. Oriental carpets, Chinese porcelain vases and even a huge bronze head of Buda – everything is present here to make the spirit of Asia as vivid as possible.
- The second section is the favorite place for designers, fashion models and other people, who love luxury and beautiful things. The clothes collection, presented here is the largest in Britain. You can see the costumes and dresses of people, starting from the middle ages and to the present days. The elegant collection of perfect jewelry is also present here.
Collection of furniture shows items from different countries and includes not only the complete decoration of the rooms and individual pieces of furniture, but also watches and musical instruments, including a Stradivarius of 1699.
- The third section includes collection of gypsum copies. The idea to get them at first occurred in Britain in the second half of the XVIII century, when the young English gentlemen went to Italy for a classical education. On their return they have missed the sunny country, and asked their sculptors to make the copies of Roman ruins for their estates. Their houses were decorated with gypsum copies of antique and Renaissance statues.
- The last section includes big collection of royal photos, several thousands of paintings, watercolors, sketches and so on. You can see Raphael, Constable, Turner, Gainsborough, Botticelli, Rembrandt and other famous artists here!
Temporary exhibitions are worth seeing too. Sometimes they are devoted to popular fashion houses or to the work of arts that were brought from other countries. This museum till now remains the educative center and many programs for children are arranged and realized here.
Victoria and Albert Museum is the place, where the history of beauty is reflected. From the ancient times and till now human beings tried to make their life beautiful and created beautiful pictures, furniture and clothes. We can see luxurious things that were gathered from different parts of our planet and exhibited in the museum.
The admission is free here; like in most other state museums in Great Britain. Nevertheless some temporary collections may be shown for fee. The workers of this museum do the great job – and they do it almost without any rest. The museum works 362 days per year, the only days off are on Christmas here.
Come to visit Victoria and Albert Museum from 10:00 till 17:45 . Some collections are accessible from 18:00 till 22:00 – check this option, before you will come here.
How to Get to Victoria and Albert Museum
The museum is situated just in the middle part of the city, so it will be easy to get here, using any kind of transport.
You can even come on foot here from the shop “Harrods” – it will take you about 10 minutes- or from the Hyde Park.
If you go by underground, you should get off at the tube station “South Kensington” or at the tube station “Victoria” – it depends on the direction you go from.
It is possible to come here by bus – then catch numbers 14, 74, 414. Otherwise you can come by car and use one of the nearest comfortable car parks.
Victoria and Albert Museum Shop and Restaurants
The visitors of the museum enjoy not only the great luxury and beauty inside. They can also come outside and have lunch in a café, situated in the garden of the museum. Fresh air, sun rays and extremely tasty food can be bought here. If you have taken packed lunch with you – then you can arrange a small picnic just there, in the garden.
Of course, it is impossible to leave this museum without any souvenirs or gifts. Shopping is affordable online and offline here. You can get almost everything, starting from clothing and ending with the items from temporary exhibitions. The range of gifts and souvenirs is wide here – so it is possible to get a cheap post card from the shop in V&A Museum or to get expensive, but very beautiful exclusive tartan.
Visiting Victoria and Albert Museum will be a great pleasure and a real adventure for everyone – the expositions are so various, so every person will find something interesting for him. Beauty, luxury, education – and all this affordable to anyone – this is the main slogan of the workers of the place and they put it into practice 362 days per year!
Telephone: +44 20 7942 2000