One of the most searched questions on the internet about Dundee is: “how did Dundee get the V&A?”
But in the year since it opened, the museum, designed by Kengo Kuma, has proven not only to be a huge coup for the city, but a key cultural development.
On the eve of the big opening day last September, the world’s media descended on the city as Primal Scream headlined at Slessor Gardens followed by a stunning fireworks display and light show.
For many who were there that night or watched proceedings on the BBC, it felt like a watershed moment for Dundee.
The Earl and Countess of Strathearn arrived in January to offically open the building, while Fiona Bruce and the Antiques Roadshow team were in town in June to film an episode of the long-running show.
As the V&A prepares to celebrate its first birthday tomorrow with a series of daytime events for families and a talk from its Japanese architect, we took to the streets to ask people how they thought Scotland’s first design museum had fared in its first 12 months.
For 60-year-old Mel Hawthorn, who was born in Dundee but now lives in Essex, the museum is a “fantastic” asset.
She said: “Lots of tourists are actually coming into Dundee now. I was born here and the changing environment is fantastic.
“It has brought more culture and it’s a big statement. Structure wise, it’s breathtaking.”
Retired factory worker Dermot O’Sullivan, said: “I think it’s great for the city and great publicity. I was disappointed to see on television that it was compared to a ‘grim car park’. I couldn’t agree with that.”
“I don’t know how they managed to get it here, but I think they’re really fortunate. With the only other one being in London, we’ve done well for ourselves.”
Jim Coupar from Coldside said: “I think the V&A has been great for Dundee. It’s brought in visitors and money for shops too which is absolutely brilliant.”
Elizabeth MacKinnon, who runs an archery centre, said: “For us, it was actually quite disappointing. We couldn’t understand why there was not more to highlight the DC Thomson print and printworks, which is a huge part of Dundee.
“The content was disappointing and there was a lack of anything to keep an 11-year-old and an 18-year-old happy.”
And Ricky Griffith said: “It was built up to be this big European museum and I think it’s been overrated.
“I’m not saying it’s a terrible building, but it’s not European status. It’s not the Guggenheim or anything like that.
“There was excitement before it opened about the development around it and I don’t see that that’s happened either.”
In an Evening Telegraph online poll the majority of readers were broadly in favour of the museum.
Out of the 1,238 people who voted, 277 said they “loved” the building and 284 saying that they “liked” it.
But a less enthusiastic 294 people said they disliked the museum and 140 “hated” it.
Many praised the “outstanding architecture”, but said the interior was disappointing.
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “V&A Dundee has helped to boost the international profile of our city, encouraging people to visit this amazing new museum and our other well-established attractions.
“The city’s partners have a long-term vision to create local jobs and opportunities through investment in top-class facilities like V&A Dundee and the latest economic impact figures show this is already paying off, with record-breaking tourism numbers recorded in 2018.
“I’m delighted to help our design museum celebrate its first birthday as we look toward to what can be achieved in the years to come.”
Caroline Warburton, VisitScotland regional leadership director said: “Since opening the V&A Dundee has been on a phenomenal journey, shining a global spotlight on Dundee and cementing its place as a city of design, creativity and heritage.”