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REVIEW : Young V&A

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

After a three-year wait the newly renovated Young V&A finally flung open its doors this week. We were bursting to get inside. The UK's very first national museum created for young people (with masses of input from young people) is a triumph!

We were regular visitors to the old Museum of Childhood. Although we were fans it was a bit dusty, a bit gloomy and definitely in need of a revamp. It felt more about children than for children. It wasn't hugely interactive. Roll forward to current day and what a change! Everything in this gleaming new building is designed to spark creativity and imagination in toddlers to teens.

Design for Change Display © David Perry

The iconic main hall is now flooded with light as the central roof windows have now been unblocked. The incredible floor mosaic (laid by hand in the 1850s by women prisoners at Woking jail) has been immaculately restored. There's a new shop and a buzzy new cafe.

Three new galleries - Play, Imagine and Design are all designed for differing age groups. All are jam-packed with interactives and games. Expect to find over 2,000 objects from dolls houses to choppers, telly tubbies to board games. There's a topsy-turvy room, a kaleidoscopic spiral staircase, a flying micro car, a spinning sandpit, a marble run and a self-portrait maker. Cleverly making use of an existing staircase in the building a new red-carpeted 'Stage' allows budding actors to perform in front of friends and family.

There's great art dotted around the museum too. Look out for works by David Hockney, Greta Thunberg, Keith Haring and Issey Miyake. The Dolls House Village crafted by Rachel Whiteread is glorious. Peer through the glowing windows and choose which one you would like to live in.

A Summer Festival celebrating the museum's reopening next weekend (8-9 July) will be bursting with creative family activities with music, puppetry, dance and games. It promises to be a great weekend.

A play palace for all ages (even grown ups) we loved it.

Bethnal Green

Opens 1 July


By Julia Colls 26 June 2023


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