Thursday, June 3, 2010

National Art Library and Victoria & Albert Museum

Image taken from:

The Victoria & Albert Museum (or the V&A as its commonly known) is distinct from other museums in London in that its history is tied to the educational system of the UK. It was first controlled by the Board of Education to be used by the Government Schools of Design and its collection still holds a focus on fine and decorative arts. The museum consists of three entities, the V&A South Kensington (what most people think of as the V&A), the world's greatest museum of art and design; the V&A Museum of Childhood, one of the world's largest and oldest collections of toys and childhood artifacts; and the archives and stores at Blythe House. You can browse the collections of the V&A and preview exhibits such as the Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition within the Fashion, Jewelly & Accessories collection. The V&A boasts and award-winning collection searching- give it a try! The National Art Library is located within the V&A and serves as a public reference library as well as the curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book. Its holdings also focus on fine and decorative arts.

What's in a name? From the A Grand Design: The History of the Victoria & Albert Museum introduction:

The Museum was founded in 1852 as the Museum of Manufactures (at Marlborough House), renamed the Museum of Ornamental Art in 1853, opened as the South Kensington Museum in 1857, and renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum on 17 May 1899 by Queen Victoria (b. 1819; reigned 1837–1901) in her last official public appearance. A tribute to her beloved consort Prince Albert (1819–1861), the name has led to confusion about the Museum’s identity among the public, many of whom are said to visit the V&A in the belief that it houses the personal collection of Victoria and Albert. In fact, the V&A’s collections of more than 4 million objects are drawn from two thousand years of cultural history, and include ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, furniture and woodwork, sculpture, textiles, paintings, drawings, prints, and rare and illustrated books.

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