V&A site will show visitors museum life behind the scenes

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An image of plans for the V&A’s new museum at Stratford Waterfront (ODonnell And Tuomey/Ninety90, 201)

Visitors will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of museum life at the V&A’s new Olympic Park venue.

The world-famous Victoria & Albert Museum is opening two sites – one of them inspired by the design of a Balenciaga dress – in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London in 2023.

One of the venues, a museum store, collection and research centre, is described as an “immersive cabinet of curiosities” .

Plans for a V&A collection and research centre
Plans for a V&A collection and research centre (Diller Scofidio And Renfro, 2018)

Visitors will be able to learn about objects from creation to conservation and see staff “at the V&A working on real stuff in real time”, including preparing for exhibitions.

It will be home to 250,000 “treasures”, unlocked from storage, of which many will go on display.

“The collection and research centre will bring treasures out of storage and into public view for the first time in generations”, the museum said.

V&A deputy director Tim Reeve said: “V&A East will for the first time illuminate the entire lifestyle of museum practice.”

Plans for the new V&A collection and research centre at Here East
Plans for the new V&A collection and research centre at Here East (Diller Scofidio And Renfro, 2018)

He added: “From the moment of an object’s acquisition, through its conservation, the research, enquiry and debate that follow, to its display … this will revolutionise how people experience and are inspired by our collection.”

The other interconnected site, a new, five-storey museum at Stratford Waterfront, will feature curated exhibitions as well as commissions and performances.

Its first exhibition will be a co-production with the Smithsonian Institution.

Plans were announced in East London after the V&A recently opened a museum in Dundee.