Haidy Geismar

24 March 2021

Trouble at the V&A

‘As the national museum of art, design and performance,’ Tristram Hunt, the museum’s director, has said, ‘the V&A’s unique focus on material specialisms is one of our greatest assets.’ But the museum now plans to address a financial shortfall caused by the pandemic with a radical reorganisation that will, in Hunt’s words, ‘simplify our historic, complex structure’. Jobs will be lost. Curatorial departments will be broken up into regions and periods more along the lines of the ‘universal’ museums. The European and American collections will be divided between three new departments: medieval to late 18th-century, ‘the long 19th century’ and ‘modern and contemporary’. Asia and Africa, meanwhile, will sit together in a single department.

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