The V&A is one of the museums centered in Kensington’s beautiful block of cultural buildings. Unlike its siblings however, this one has a little more edge to it. Although children are both admitted and encouraged, there’s a definite sense that this is a very grown up learning experience, a triumph of the more subtle arts.
As a cultural museum, it primarily focuses on works of art and creation, as opposed to the facts that dominate its two neighbours. The purpose of it is less to teach and more to present: pieces are displayed so that they may be interpreted and debated, rather than simply accepted as fact. In many ways, it’s akin to the classic storyteller’s advice of “show, rather than tell.”
Not that the museum itself is devoid of any factual content. The materials, methodologies and contexts of each piece are carefully considered in each display. By presenting this information, the V&A aims to create an environment where visitors can appreciate the works for both their artistic and artisanal value. In that regard, it’s an utter success and this makes it a must see visit for anyone that cares about the world of culture. Even if you’re not one for that sort of thing, there’s still a lot of interesting pieces that will appeal to you on a purely visual basis.
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