What is the V&A Museum of Childhood?
‘Welcoming over 400,000 visitors through its doors every year, the V&A Museum of Childhood in London’s Bethnal Green houses the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection of childhood-related objects and artefacts, spanning the 1600s to the present day. ‘ – Museum of Childhood
This museum houses and displays a large collection children related artefacts – This includes clothing, paintings, toys, educational tools, and puzzles.
Items are juxtaposed in and interesting way with one example being an English rocking horse dating from around 1605, displayed next to more contemporary designs. Thee displays allows the visitors to gain an understanding on how childhood has developed as well as the difference between classes and socio-economic situations.
I remember visiting this museum as a child in the old location, so I thought I would visit it briefly to see what it was like now. The collections were nicely separated and my favourite categories were the dolls and doll houses. This is not to say the other sections weren’t interesting or varied.
I think the layout of the museum was very clear – If you looked past the running and screaming children that acted as barriers. I realise that this is a museum that concerns childhood and children so consequently a lot of children would go visit either with their parents or as part of a trip… But it was so noisy…
I did not like the building so much, but I suppose this is because I prefer older and grander museums. However again considering that mothers with pushchairs would be a common occurrence the layout and building is perfectly convenient.
” Do you know that feeling in the car when somebody’s accelerating very very fast and you’re not driving? And you get that ‘uphhv’ thing in your chest, when you’re forced backward, and you’re not sure whether you like it or not. It’s that kind of feeling – That’s what success was like… It was very frightening.” – David Bowie on success
This is quote is from the 1975 documentary about David Bowie, Cracked Actor, which was shown again by the BBC to mark the comeback album, The Next Day, and a new exhibition at the V&A.
What is David Bowie is…?
‘The V&A has been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie. David Bowie is will feature more than 300 objects that include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs and Bowie’s own instruments. ‘ – V&A
David Bowie is explores the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, this exhibition looks at his change in style and many reinventions. There are more than 300 objects brought together; including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments and album artwork. This exhibition explores the wide range of collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, graphics, theatre and film.
To add to the display of Bowie artefacts you are given a music player and headphones – this is for the sound experience that Sennheiser created. The sound experience activates when you enter a new section of the exhibition, playing recording of Bowie’s interviews, the related sound to a video clip on-screen or music by David Bowie.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see this exhibition at first, but I ended up going because there was so much press coverage over it. I got to the V&A at 10:30 (half an hour after it opened in the morning) and already a que had developed. I queued up for nearly forty minutes and booked my ticket. At this point I was really hoping to like the exhibition because I have never queued that long for anything before.
Thankfully I really enjoyed this exhibition, there is so much to see and so many items on display. My favourite part was the little film section, towards the end,where they had a mini cinema showing clips of what David Bowie has acted in (I thought The Man Who Fell To Earth looked really good). Other interesting artefacts included the hand written lyrics and paintings by David Bowie.
I think the music player I was given was slightly damaged as it kept on skipping bits but I got most of it. I thought it was a good idea, especially with the amount of people who were in the exhibition; you could listen clearly and even get extra commentary if you wished to do so.
The layout of the exhibition was good in a sense that it allowed the visitor to choose where they wanted to go and avoid the more crowed areas. The space of the first room was quite closed in comparison to the second room – this made a packed exhibition seem not so packed.
The exhibition takes about and hour and a half to get through and really show how creative David Bowie is. He seems to have tried every creative medium at least once and draws influence from anywhere. Bowie gained good exposure as he is no longer just the musician who created the stage persona Ziggy Stardust, which is how I personally knew of Bowie, but an incredibly imaginative and creative artist willing to innovate himself on his own terms.
“Kitty and the Bulldog explores the way in which British fashion – notably Victoriana, Punk and Gothic – has influenced the development of Japan’s ‘Lolita’ style, a cult fashion movement whose defining feature has been its preoccupation with cuteness, or ‘kawaii’. The display features nine outfits recently bought in Tokyo for the V&A’s permanent collections.” – V&A
This was a very small display of the various Lolita trends with explanations beside each exhibit, though it was small it was cute.