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more on the V&A

When in London 4 years ago, my wife and I visited the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum). It actually wasn’t one of the big highlights of our trip. In just about any other city it would be the #1 museum, but there’s so many things to see and do in London that the V&A didn’t really stand out too much for us.

There’s such a wide range of items that I think the museum suffers from an identity crisis. “Eclectic” is the perfect description. It’s the kind of place I would love to visit during my lunch breaks. Finding one room to study for an hour each day would be really engaging. It’s not the kind of place you can whiz through in 2-3 hours. It would be information overload. Visit the V&A’s Collections page just to get an idea of how eclectic it is. There’s 15 distinct categories. Fifteen.

What’s pretty cool is that you can search/browse through over 1,000,000 items on their site. I’m now reminded why my wife and I were disengaged a bit from our visit. Their collections lean heavily towards the craft genre which can be pretty boring, like really boring. At times it felt like visiting a really, really fancy antique mall. I feel really bad saying that cuz there’s some incredible stuff at the V&A, but there’s only so many 19th century china patterns that a guy can look at.

Here’s how they describe themselves: “The V&A is the greatest museum of art and design, a world treasure house with collections of fabulous scope and diversity. The Museum holds over 3000 years worth of artefacts from many of the world’s richest cultures.”

More info on the ca. 1200 Ar-Raqqah ox dude shown above here.

9 Responses to more on the V&A

  1. Mark R October 23, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    I’m still surprised that you went to the Tate and the V&A museums but didn’t make it to the British museum or the National Gallery. Both of which were pretty impressive in terms of quality and quantity.

  2. Matt Maldre October 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    Hearing you talk about engaging one room at a time during a lunch break makes me want to do that with the art institute here. It’s a little bit of a trip, but I should at least aim for once a month.

    Heck, i’m a member now, so I could waltz right in anytime.

  3. Matt Maldre October 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    Wow. 4,913 people bought Art Institute of Chicago memberships because of that groupon deal. The tute has gotta be happy about that.

  4. Erik Maldre October 23, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    Mark, we actually did make it to the British Museum. It’s hard to pass it up since it has a reputation for being the greatest museum in the world.

    We did indeed miss the National Gallery. I thought the advertised variety of the V&A and their supposed focus on “design” would be more interesting than a museum dedicated to just portraits.

    And I absolutely loved the Tate Modern. It was one of my favorite places to visit in London.

  5. shout October 26, 2009 at 5:16 am #

    I was one of the groupon people, but have only made it once since I got the membership! They have some kind of British arts-n-crafts thing going on now that I want to check out. Erik, I loved the V&A! Did your wife like the dresses?

  6. shout October 26, 2009 at 5:19 am #

    And you are thinking of the National Portrait Gallery, which is next to the National Gallery, which has a lot more than just portraits. However, having lived in London for a time and been to all those museums multiple times… you were right to choose the Tates over the National Gallery if you had time constraints. Especially the Modern – like you, it’s my favorite.

  7. Erik Maldre October 30, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    @Shout: Andrea didn’t care for the V&A much at all. Though we did not look at the dresses. I remember that because I recall seeing the dresses on an episode of Rick Steves and I was disappointed not to find all the V&A items he featured on his show.

    The British arts-n-crafts thing would be nice to see. We have some of those elements in our house.

  8. Mark R November 2, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    I look forward to your Greco-Roman posts.


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