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21 Feb 2020

London's V&A Museum of Childhood to close for two-year redevelopment
BY Andy Knaggs

The new plans for the museum include performance spaces for children to express themselves

The new plans for the museum include performance spaces for children to express themselves
photo: V&A Museum of Childhood

Creating an "unforgettable first museum experience for children" is the aim of the V&A Museum of Childhood in London, which has announced it will close in May 2020 to undergo a two-year, £13m (US$16.9m, €15.7m) transformation.

It said the "reimagination" of its collections, galleries, building and public programme will turn it into a "world-leading centre of creativity for children".

Indeed, creativity is a major theme for the planned new museum, which said it wants to "champion the role of creativity on the school curriculum and nurture the next generation of artists, designers, makers and innovators".

The museum's own collections of board games and dolls houses will be joined by Hollywood props and costumes, such as the original Superman costume and Frankenstein's Monster, which will be set within theatrical displays to inspire budding screenwriters, authors and story-tellers.

Works by leading creatives such as Issey Miyake and Yves Behar will explore how objects are made next to open studio areas.

A new 125-person capacity performance stage will be the centrepiece of the museum's daily programme of family activities and present a platform for children to perform their own shows. Meanwhile, the main hall at the museum is to be reimagined as "The Town Square", making it a more inviting and social space, said the V&A.

London-based architecture and design practice AOC has developed the plans, aiming to create a museum that is filled with natural light, vibrant colour and playful multi-sensory environments.

Planning permission and Listed Building Consent was also required for the base-build scheme, which has been developed by De Matos Ryan. This design will see new learning studios, a new "Kaleidoscopic" staircase for the Town Square, improve the museum's facilities, and enable essential renovation of the infrastructure.



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