Children to play at museum curator

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The V&A Museum of Childhood has transformed a gallery into a working design studio, enabling children to experiment with new ways of displaying objects.

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Gill Lambert, Architect, AOC, with children from Globe Primary School, Bethnal Green Photo Getty/ Jeff Spicer

The display and ‘test lab’ area in the galleries is part of refurbishment plans to become the world’s ‘most joyful’ museum.


Children, young people and families are invited to feed back on work in progress, test out display ideas, talk with the team and shape the future of the building.

In Open Studio, visitors are encouraged to physically hold and interact with objects from the V&A collection and to propose design and curatorial ideas for the new galleries.

The studio’s first display, which opens on Friday (14 June) is a special installation of fantastical shoebox rooms made by refugees in Jordan around themes of home and community.

The Giant Dolls’ Houses Project, made in collaboration with Catja de Haas Architects and Oxfam, is part of the London Festival of Architecture and Refugee Week, and will be open for 10 days.

The museum is running a free workshop tomorrow (15 June) for families to make their own shoebox houses in response to the display.

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Gina Koutsika, Creative and Skills Director of the V&A Museum of Childhood,said, ‘Through Open Studio, we hope to create a space that sparks excitement, curiosity and a sense of ownership in our mission to create internationally renowned powerhouse of design and creativity for children, families and young people.

'Open Studio will help us realise our mandate, set by local schoolchildren, to become the world’s “most joyful” museum and ensure we relaunch as an essential civic space for our local community.’

The V&A is working with architecture and design practice AOC to develop new galleries and experiences that celebrate the power of design and creativity, and Open Studio will play a key role in the redevelopment of the museum.

The first concept designs, which include an overall redesign of the museum and three new galleries, will be revealed in the autumn.

  • Open Studio is open every day and is free to visit. The Doll’s House in a Shoebox workshop runs on Saturday 15 June from 12 - 4pm and is a free family event run by Lala Thorpe from Artescape.
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