The unveiling of the Young V&A

With school out for the summer holidays, we are delighted to bring you news of the Victoria & Albert’s newest venture in East London, designed specifically for children and to keep them entertained. 

The Victoria & Albert Museum, external contributor
Gallery with people sitting and walking around
Young V&A, Town Square with Feature Stair © Luke Hayes courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

On Saturday 1st July, Young V&A, London’s major new free destination for children, families and young people, opened in Bethnal Green. Young V&A is the UK’s first museum of art, design and performance created with and for young people, with national collections at the heart of the experience. 

Works by leading artists, designers and changemakers on display including Virgil Abloh, Olafur Eliasson, Greta Thunberg, Bridget Riley, Miuccia Prada, Keith Haring, Issey Miyake and David Hockney alongside examples of children’s own creativity.

A new chapter 

After an extensive £13 million three-year redevelopment and previously the V&A Museum of Childhood, Young V&A showcases the transformative power of creativity, displaying inspiring stories of children’s ingenuity alongside approximately 2,000 works from the V&A’s collections. Dating from 2,300 BC to today and from all around the world, objects are displayed in unique and imaginative ways to ensure Young V&A is packed full of serious fun and playful learning at every turn.

The redevelopment is the most significant intervention in the Grade II* listed building’s 150-year history, and has completely transformed the museum. Encompassing three new galleries, a suite of new, larger and better equipped workshop and learning spaces, a purpose built 515m² gallery for showcasing major exhibitions, a new shop and café, the entire museum has been redesigned around children, young people, schools and families. 

Shop full of books and kids toys
Young V&A Shop © Luke Hayes courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

By children, for children

Over 22,000 schoolchildren, teachers, Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and community groups, families and local people helped shape the project, and their impact and ideas can be seen throughout the museum.

Three new galleries Play, Imagine and Design are designed with different age groups in mind, from babies to teens, but open for all to explore. Each features new interactives and activities inspired by the collections, where children and their families can have fun together expressing their creativity, with immersive optical illusions, a performance area and stage, a marble run, self-portrait maker and open design studio - plus much more. 

Young V&A, Mini Museum, Play Gallery © David Parry courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London (3)
Young V&A, Mini Museum, Play Gallery © David Parry courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A story of transformation

The project celebrates and restores the building’s iconic Victorian architecture – original windows have been uncovered allowing natural light to flood into the space, and the 19th century marble mosaic floor has been restored and revealed. Spaces have been designed with a focus on accessibility and inclusivity, with significant improvements to circulation and noise, and galleries designed consciously around the needs of SEND visitors. Young V&A will be a cultural and educational resource for schools across the country, offering a self-guided visits and workshops year-round, from this October. 

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, said: The V&A believes in the transformative power of creativity, and that it’s critical we work - across all our sites - to support and develop the next creative generation. 

Young V&A has been designed with and for our youngest audiences – inspired by the way we learn, play and experience the world.

It is a place where they can have fun, be imaginative and take inspiration from the V&A’s incredible collections. The museum is the first of its kind and by continuing to work in partnership with teachers and schools, locally and across the country, it will become a national resource for supporting the teaching of art and design.”

Child playing with screen
Young V&A, Mini Museum, Play Gallery © David Parry courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Where, when and how?

The Young V&A is open daily from 10am to 5.45pm, at Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. Admission is free and more details can be found on the website here

LGT Wealth Management is proud to support the Victoria & Albert Museum and its longstanding mission to enrich people’s lives by promoting knowledge and enjoyment of art. We share the museum’s core values of collaboration, integrity and innovation. 

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