Smithsonian teams up with V&A Museum for London Gallery

London - The Smithsonian, the biggest museum in the USA, has announced a new partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London to open a jointly run gallery space.

Through the "major new international collaboration" the two aim to open a new, permanent exhibition space near the 2012 Olympic Stadium in East London. The gallery space will act as a key part of the V&A new east location whilst forming a part of the new cultural complex currently under development in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Smithsonian teams up with V&A Museum for London Gallery

"Growing London’s cultural sector is one of my core priorities as mayor, so I welcome this trans-Atlantic collaboration between two of the world’s most prestigious institutions," said the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in a statement. "These plans would create an exciting new cultural destination in East London, which will help many more people enjoy the extraordinary collections managed by the Smithsonian and the V&A. It is great news for everyone who wants to see London’s cultural and creative sectors even bigger and better."

The joint initiative marks the first time in the Smithsonian 170 year history the institution has committed to a long-term permanent gallery presence in another country, in addition to a program of temporary displays and exhibitions. The partnership is the product of an initiative which began in January 2015 between the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which is overseeing the development of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and the Smithsonian and the V&A.

Smithsonian teams up with V&A Museum for London Gallery

“Through a collaboration with one of the world’s great museums, we will be able to inspire and educate more people than ever before,” said Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton in a statement. “With the V&A in London, we can build bridges to other countries and continents and share our work with the world.”

Exhibitions and linked programs for the sames will be developed jointly by the V&A and the Smithsonian, which share the goal of staging Smithsonian exhibitions as part of the V&A East overall program. Planning is still in early stages, but Skorton predicts that the new gallery space will have a strong global significance and bring together the best from both organizations collections and expertise in arts, humanities and science.

Smithsonian teams up with V&A Museum for London Gallery

“This would not be a ‘Smithsonian outpost in London,’” added Skorton. “It would be a collaboration with the V&A, giving both of us opportunities to engage with diverse audiences in innovative ways. What we learn through this collaboration will enable us to better tell our stories not only in London, but in the United States and around the world.”

“Working very closely with the Smithsonian, as well as the other partners in and around the Olympic Park, is one of the key reasons the V&A is committed to developing a new museum, and this proposed collaboration represents an exciting opportunity for us to explore the synergies between two world-class institutions and their collections and knowledge,” said V&A Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Tim Reeve.

Photos: The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building in Washington, D.C.and Smithsonian Castle at Dusk and the V&A


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