V&A Dundee is preparing for its opening weekend. Image: Hufton+Crow

V&A Dundee prepares to welcome its first visitors

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 12.09.2018
New design museum will open to the public on Saturday
Scotland’s first dedicated design museum, V&A Dundee, is to open to the public this Saturday after three-and-a-half years under construction.

Designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the £80.1m waterfront museum is the Victoria and Albert Museum’s (V&A) first site to open outside London. It will house permanent displays showcasing Scotland’s design achievements, as well as an international exhibition programme.


One of the museum’s highlights is the restored Oak Room by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which has been fully conserved and reconstructed after being hidden from public view for 50 years.

The museum’s first temporary exhibition is Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, created by the V&A in collaboration with Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts, which explores the design and cultural impact of the ocean liner.

The museum is intended to act as a cultural landmark that establishes Dundee as an international centre for design. Dundee City Council estimates that it will provide the region with an economic boost of £11.6m a year and provide 361 extra jobs across Scotland, including 249 in the city itself.

V&A Dundee’s director Philip Long said: “The opening of V&A Dundee is a historic occasion for Dundee, for the V&A, and for the very many people who played a vital part and supported its realisation. This is a very proud moment for all involved.
 
“V&A Dundee’s aspiration is to enrich lives, helping people to enjoy, be inspired by and find new opportunities through understanding the designed world. After years of planning, we are thrilled at being able to celebrate the realisation of the first V&A museum in the world outside London.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “Quite simply, V&A Dundee is the biggest addition to Scotland’s cultural scene this century.

“It is a hugely exciting project – an instantly iconic new building on Dundee’s waterfront housing a treasure trove of artefacts.
 
“I’ve no doubt it will draw millions of people from Scotland and around the globe in the years to come and I am as excited as anyone at the prospect of seeing it for the first time.”

The museum will celebrate its opening with a free festival on 14-15 September that includes musical performances by artists such as Primal Scream, as well as dance, design and lighting collaborations.

The museum project received around £19m in national lottery funding, including £14.1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5m from Creative Scotland. 

A review of V&A Dundee will be in the November issue of Museums Journal.

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