The V&A

Today to the Dior exhibition at the V&A – hottest museum ticket in town.

First of all it is important to say that the V&A is very good in terms of level access. There are a number of lifts at both entrances of the Museum and near the large staircase at the back right hand-side section as well (near the Cast Courts). This is particularly useful if you want to visit one or two galleries, but avoid other, busier areas. The museum also has plenty of ramps which are useful, but more particularly for a museum of design – they are really beautiful and make a genuinely valid contribution to the aesthetic of the architecture. Well done V&A.

This exhibition was very beautiful both in terms of the collections on display and the display techniques used. Thought, design and investment have clearly gone in to the installation of this show and the lighting, room dressing and decoration made an exciting contribution to setting the mood of the House of Dior. I could review this exhibition in far more detail, but I must confine my comments and limit my focus to include only how the exhibition and the museum worked for Lily and I during our perambulation.

The Dior exhibition is beautifully lit and includes some music and movement in the second to last room. Lily is really stimulated by museum lighting, particularly moving light and light that casts interesting shadows. This was plentiful in the “garden room”. Bold and successful use of colour could also be found in a number of rooms, which I think made a strong impression on all visitors big and tiny. There is very little seating in the gallery, which was unfortunate. We did linger and had the opportunity to take a closer look at displays that had seating nearby. 

The Dior exhibition sold out many months ago and so must have been at capacity during our visit. Tickets are timed and there was a medium sized queue to get in. Having said this, there was still plenty of room to move around the exhibition with Lily and her pram plenty of opportunity to look at key pieces up close and in detail and also space to stand back and admire the rooms and the objects from a distance. This is a one-way exhibition layout of sequential rooms so once you are in it is hard (impossible?) to leave quickly or easily should you need to. This may be an issue had Lily needed some space, a nappy change or a cuddle. On this occasion she was happy to watch from her pram, or from my arms. As we left the exhibition we were informed that the lift was now broken. Happily there was already a plan in place and two front-of-house staff had been positioned to guide us to a service lift, which was very near. I didn’t mind one bit seeing the less decorated “behind the scenes” staff area in order to access the lift. We felt really “looked after” that the team had found the problem and arranged a solution so swiftly.

Back to the V&A in general. The bathrooms and changing facilities were clean, plentiful and again, design led. There were unisex changing facilities in a disabled access loo and a pull-down changing table in the sink area of the ladies (sorry I can’t comment about the gent, but I hope they had a baby changing table too.)  

A successful and enjoyable visit for both of us. We stayed for 2.5 hours and travelled to the museum by taxi because I couldn’t easily find the nearest step free tube station and wanted to arrive feeling calm and looking neat.

Changing facilities ****

Access *****

Baby feeding facilities (including seating) **

Travel **

Enjoyable Perambulation ***** 

Overall ****