News: V&A announces 6 August reopening date and major exhibition and gallery openings

Following one of the most significant closures in the museum’s history, the V&A is delighted to announce that it will reopen its doors to visitors on 6 August 2020.

Initially opening Thursday to Sunday each week, the V&A will reopen in phases. From 6 August 2020, visitors will able to enjoy all of the ground floor collection galleries including the iconic Medieval & Renaissance Gallery, the monumental Cast Courts, the stunning artefacts of The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art and the much-loved Fashion Gallery, as well as the Europe 1600–1815 galleries on lower ground floor.

To coincide with the August Bank Holiday weekend, the first and second floor collection galleries will reopen on 27 August, including the ever-popular The William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery, Theatre & Performance Galleries, and the Photography Centre as well as our Paintings, Tapestries and Silver Galleries. The critically acclaimed exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, which closed just two weeks into its run, has now been extended and will reopen on 27 August – 25 October alongside the museum’s Filthy Lucre installation.

Our Exhibition Road neighbours, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum have also announced that their doors will reopen on 5 August and 19 August respectively. The three museums are staggering opening dates and times to reduce footfall on Exhibition Road and ease visitor flow at nearby underground stations.

South Kensington is London’s home of arts and science – the original cultural quarter since its foundation 175 years ago – providing free access to astonishingly diverse collections held on behalf of the nation, all within a stone’s throw of each other.  At a time when ideas, beauty, curiosity and connection to nature have never been more important, the three South Kensington museums have all bases covered. Galleries, exhibitions and experiences span art, design, performance, fashion, science, technology, engineering, medicine and the wonders of the natural world. Visitors will be able to welcome culture back into their lives and enjoy fantastic days out in wide open, safe spaces they can reclaim as their own.

The museums are collaborating with their two local authorities, local businesses and more than a dozen other cultural institutions to improve provision for cyclists and pedestrians and take other steps to ensure South Kensington offers the same vibrant experiences supported by all the reassuring safety measures.

Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt said: “The V&A’s galleries flourish in dialogue with visitors, and after so many months, I am delighted we will be reopening our doors to the world. Our seven miles of galleries in South Kensington will open in phases, and we have a range of exciting exhibition and gallery openings to come in the next few months. The V&A has ample space for social distancing, and all safety measures are in place for our visitors to enjoy 5000 years of ingenuity in art, design and performance. Reopening is only the first phase to our recovery, which is set to last well into next year, and we remain hugely grateful to all our visitors, members and supporters – now more than ever.” 

A new blog post by Director Tristram Hunt has also been published to coincide with this announcement providing an insight into the behind-the-scenes work of the V&A and our ongoing mission.

A number of measures will be in place across the V&A to ensure that the museum is a safe, relaxing and inspiring place for visitors, staff and volunteers. Free timed tickets will be introduced to ensure that visitors can freely explore and discover the wonders of the V&A’s collection within a socially distanced environment. Further details on how we are preparing the V&A for reopening and the range of safety measures that are in place, from screens to sanitiser, can be found on the V&A website.

Alongside an extensive range of content and information, visitors will be able to go online and use the V&A’s digital map to make the most of their visit. In addition, from 3 August three self-guided trails, available on the V&A website, will explore highlights from the collection, the building’s architecture, and a selection of family favourites. The trails will link through to further online content including articles and videos to learn more about our collection pre or post visit. As the museum’s first and second floor galleries reopen from 27 August, additional trails, including a digital version of the museum’s African Heritage Tour and its LGBTQ Tour, will also be available.

The V&A’s forthcoming programme and opening dates for the next nine months are as follows:

Bags: Inside Out – 21 November 2020 – 12 September 2021
Epic Iran – 13 February – 30 August 2021
Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser – 27 March – 31 December 2021  

Timed tickets to see the museum’s permanent collection and Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk are now available from the V&A website. Tickets for Bags: Inside Out will launch in August, and Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser and Epic Iran will launch in later 2020.

The Renaissance Watercolours exhibition will now be reimagined as a free display, opening November 2020 and presenting rare examples from the museum’s collection. The exhibition catalogue is also now available in the museum shop offering detailed essays and insights into this often under-appreciated art form.

The reopening of the museum will see the delivery of major FuturePlan projects over the coming months. The museum’s stunning Raphael Court will reopen on 14 November, following a major redevelopment that includes full redecoration, state-of-the-art lighting and new digital interpretation. Visitors will be able to zoom in on the Cartoons, loaned to the V&A by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, to reveal the texture and detail of the paintings like never before. The gallery houses some of the most significant Renaissance works in the UK and its relaunch will mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death.

Design: 1900Now on the museum’s second floor, will open February 2021 and feature over a century of works from the V&A’s world-leading collection of modern and contemporary design including Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir’s iconic British Road Sign and the Mae West lips sofa by Salvador Dali. The gallery will explore the history of design and its impact on how we live, work, travel, communicate and consume as well as providing a new home for the museum’s celebrated Rapid Response Collection.

V&A Dundee will re-open on Thursday 27 August with Mary Quant, the first international retrospective on the iconic British designer as well as a major project with Turner Prize-winning architecture collective Assemble who are the museum’s designers in residence.  Across the museum, both inside and out, there will be a new exhibition on design’s response to the pandemic. Mary Quant will run until 17 January 2021 and tickets are available at www.vam.ac.uk/dundee

The V&A Collection at World of Wedgwood, based at Barlaston near Stoke-on-Trent, will reopen from 20 July 2020. New safety measures are now in place so visitors can explore over 3000 objects of ground-breaking design and production, and discover Josiah Wedgwood’s lasting influence on industry and society. The Precision and Skill temporary display – a unique collection of the Etruria factory’s prestige production models, dating back to Josiah Wedgwood I (1730–1795) – has also now been extended.

The redevelopment of the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is now underway, and will see the beloved institution evolve into a dynamic museum dedicated to empowering children and young people through creativity and design skills.

The museum’s ongoing commitment to education programmes is now more vital than ever. V&A Innovate – a national challenge for secondary school pupils – will launch digitally in September and be accessible to every school in the UK. Following the themes of Home and Community, students will be asked to use design practices to address major issues including climate change, accessibility, isolation and more. For adult learners, the V&A Academy moves online – a first for the museum – and will later develop as a mixed model of both online and onsite course. Available from September with a rich programme of art history courses, experts from the museum will be able to connect with students around the world using the breadth of the V&A’s collection to explore the story of human creativity.

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