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V&A renames childhood museum as part of £13m redevelopment

Construction work has begun on a £13m redevelopment project which will look to transform the V&A Museum of Childhood into the UK’s "premier national museum" entirely dedicated to children.

Designed by De Matos Ryan and AOC Architecture, the revamp of the iconic Grade II* listed site in Bethnal Green, London, UK will provide the museum with an entirely new visitor experience.

Plans include three new galleries – called Play, Imagine and Design – an interactive collection displays drawing on the full scope of the V&A collections, a suite of dedicated workshops for learning, an in-gallery design studio for visitors and a new café and shop.

Creative education spaces for hands-on making and performance will play a key role in Young V&A’s new galleries.

These include an amphitheatre-style stage in Imagine, a free-play construction area within Play, and a working Open Studio in Design, inviting young visitors to develop their creative skills through performance, play and design.

There are also three workshop spaces and a reading room on the lower ground floor dedicated to learning – all spaces which will support a year-round educational programme.

Activities within the learning programme will range from parenting courses and sessions for early years to curriculum-based provision for school learners (Key Stages 1, 2 and 3) and after school and holiday activities for families and young people.

Designed for 0–14-year olds, the revamped museum is set to reopen to the public in 2023, when it will also boast a new name – Young V&A.

The new name was chosen to reflect the museum's new mission to inspire young people with "the creative ingenuity of design", to empower educators and to act as a leader in child-centred museum practice.

Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, said: “Young people’s lives have been dramatically altered by the pandemic, yet they have adapted and enriched the soul of the nation in extraordinary ways – from a rainbow campaign honouring the NHS to Sky Brown’s skateboarding achievements for Team GB.

"A world-class museum that nurtures curiosity, experimentation and celebrates play, Young V&A will be a global champion for children’s creativity in all its forms.

"This vital investment – working to counter the ongoing effects of Covid-19 on young people’s access to creative education, collaborative play, and artistic inspiration – is more urgent than ever. I am delighted we are one step closer to reopening the museum’s doors in 2023.”

De Matos Ryan architects were appointed in early 2018 to develop a full base build design, including structural changes, heritage restoration, lighting and acoustic upgrades and delivery of a new suite of new workshop spaces.

Construction is now underway with handover of the site to Quinn London contractors in August 2021.

In parallel, AOC Architecture – the design team responsible for the fit-out – are completing final detailed drawings for construction tender in early autumn.

V&A  Museum of Childhood 
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Construction work has begun on a £13m redevelopment project which will look to transform the V&A Museum of Childhood into the UK’s "premier national museum" entirely dedicated to children. Designed by De Matos Ryan and AOC Architecture, the revamp of the iconic Grade II* listed site in Bethnal Green, London, UK will provide the museum with an entirely new visitor experience. Plans include three new galleries – called Play, Imagine
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The revamp has been designed by De Matos Ryan and AOC Architecture / AOC Architecture
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Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
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