London’s V&A Museum of Childhood has been renamed Young V&A as part of its £13m redevelopment.
Construction has started on the Grade II*-listed site in Bethnal Green. The museum, which will reopen in 2023, will be aimed at 0–14-year-olds.
“Young people’s lives have been dramatically altered by the pandemic, yet they have adapted and enriched the soul of the nation in extraordinary ways – from a rainbow campaign honouring the NHS to Sky Brown’s skateboarding achievements for Team GB,” said V&A director Tristram Hunt. “A world-class museum that nurtures curiosity, experimentation and celebrates play, Young V&A will be a global champion for children’s creativity in all its forms.
“This vital investment – working to counter the ongoing effects of Covid-19 on young people’s access to creative education, collaborative play, and artistic inspiration – is more urgent than ever.”
New acquisitions for display in the new museum include the skateboard Brown used in the Tokyo Olympics; a selection of garments by sustainable fashion designer, humanitarian and artist Bethany Williams from her All Our Children collection; and a selection of linocut prints created by Sonny and his eight-year-old son Woody, who is autistic.
Plans for the redeveloped museum include three new galleries – Play, Imagine and Design; a suite of dedicated workshops for learning; an in-gallery design studio for visitors; and a redesigned visitor experience featuring a new cafe and shop.
De Matos Ryan is the architect for the scheme with AOC Architecture responsible for the fit-out. Quinn London is the main contractor.
Work was completed earlier this year on cataloguing, conserving and packing objects from the National Childhood Collection, which were previously stored below ground at the museum. They will now move to the V&A East Storehouse, which opens in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2024.
The collection comprises more than 33,000 objects – from miniature dolls house furniture to a four-metre high 16th-century Italian Marionette theatre.
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