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The Smithsonian and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) have unveiled plans for V&A East, a project that will create a new museum and a collection and research center in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The museum, set to open in 2023, will feature exhibitions and programming jointly developed by the Smithsonian and the V&A. This project marks the first time that the Smithsonian has committed to a long-term permanent gallery in another country.
“Our collaboration with the V&A is an important milestone for the Smithsonian,” said David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian. “By bringing together the world’s largest museum, education and research complex and the world’s largest museum of art, design and performance, we believe we can unite the arts and sciences to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our day. Such a collaboration will create a new type of museum experience for east London and allow us to engage with new audiences in one of the most diverse and dynamic cities in the world.”
Situated within the vibrant creative hub of east London and surrounded by four of the city’s fastest-growing and most diverse boroughs, V&A East is designed to showcase more than 250,000 objects in the V&A’s collection. It will include Here East, a new collection and research center, inviting visitors to explore how and why objects are collected, cared for, conserved and researched.
The partnership at V&A East will deliver an innovative program bridging art, design, science and humanities. The Smithsonian will collaborate with the V&A on a co-curated gallery that will change every one to two years. In addition, the Smithsonian will have a share of a gallery space elsewhere in the building for temporary exhibits. Exhibitions and related programming will have a broad cultural significance and draw from both organizations’ collections and expertise.
“There is limitless scope for synergy and collaboration at Here East, and across the wider East Bank campus,” said Tim Reeve, deputy director and COO of the V&A. “Through our partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, we have the potential to support the next generation in east London and beyond—as change-maker, center of innovation and creative sourcebook for all.”
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