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Five things you might not know about the V&A

It may be over 150 years old, but the Victoria and Albert museum of the decorative arts is as fashionable as ever. Here are some interesting facts to inspire your visit

By Time Out editors |
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Best buildings in London: V&A

Sitting on Exhibition Road alongside the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, the V&A might seem a less weighty cathedral to enlightenment than its neighbours, but there’s serious study and insight to be had among the galleries of fashions, textiles and crafts.

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Five interesting facts about the V&A

1

It’s not only rock stars that go on tour, their exhibitions do too. The V&A’s massively successful ‘David Bowie is…’ exhibition of 2013 has been taken all over the world, from Europe and the US to Australia and Japan. It was even turned into a film to be screened at cinemas.

2

The museum isn’t just about nice objects. The V&A’s fashion collection spans five centuries, from elaborate dresses worn at royal court to something an office worker would have commuted in during the 1960s. However the V&A holds other significant works, too, like a world class photography collection, amassed since 1852, it includes portraiture, street photography, early pioneering work and photographic art.

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3

You can learn a lot here. Whether you join the free daily tours or sign up for year-long courses dedicated to art and design, the V&A is a school that’s serious about style.

4

You won’t hear ‘do not touch’ too often. At least not during the dedicated hands-on exhibits sessions for children. Ever taken the family to a museum and been terrified someone will smash something? These tours are for you.

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5

The dust never settles. The V&A is a dynamic working museum that still has its eye on the ball. Their 'Rapid Response Collecting' displays reflect the latest trends and lifestyle obsessions – from five shades of a Christian Louboutin shoe to the latest funky toys.

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