Victoria and Albert Museum is home to art spanning the last two thousand years of history. The museum was first established in 1852. The principle upon which the Museum was founded was to make art accessible to the entire nation and to inspire Britain’s young artists and designers.Much of the funding for the museum was generated by the Great Exhibition of 1851. During its infancy the museum set out to collect the very best examples from every conceivable art form including textiles, furniture and metalwork. The V&A is also home to possibly the world’s greatest collection of fine art. As the collections grew, so did the museum. Originally designed to be temporary exhibition halls, the glass roofed buildings still remain today as some of the best examples of Victorian building in the capital.
In 2001 the British Galleries reopened after restoration work. Exhibits include James II’s wedding suit, the Great Bed of Ware and British works from the fifteenth to twentieth century. The Victoria and Albert Museum also houses the National Collection of Art of Photography and has been displaying photography since 1858. Daniel Libeskind’s controversial eight-storey ceramic spiral is due to be completed in 2004.
The V&A has more than four million exhibits, across four floors, ten acres and 145 galleries. The galleries are laid out according to genre, time period and artist.
Admission to the Victoria and Albert Museum is free.