Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Victoria & Albert Museum: Chaos, Mystery, and Chihuly

September 21, 2010 · 1 Comment

It seems like everyone I talked to in our program strongly disliked the Victoria and Albert Museum. I don’t know what they were thinking, because I thought it was one of the most amazing places I have ever been. I loved how random it was – it really epitomized British eccentricity. The V & A seemed to be completely lacking in order from one room to the next, whereas other museums that we have been to, like the British Museum or the London Museum seem to be arranged more logically. But I really like how chaotic it was. It added the element of surprise which made me laugh aloud. I think the key is to go in with a game plan. Know which exhibits you want to see beforehand, that way you organize your visit accordingly. Any interesting sites you find along the way can just be a fun little bonus.

So what was the most interesting part of such a fascinatingly bizarre place? No, not the jewelry, although my eyes were glued to several dazzling tiaras, but what I found most intriguing was being able to watch the museum staff put together an exhibit. I felt like I was backstage at a play, watching the people who work behind the scenes. I never realized how much work it would take to create even just one exhibit. There were at least ten or fifteen people working on the room. Some were doing physical work, lifting and moving planks of wood, while others looked over papers on clipboards and directed traffic. However, I was a bit mystified because I didn’t know what it was exactly that they were building and I still don’t know what it had to do with that particular room of the museum. It just looked like they were plonking down a big ol’ wall in the middle of the room. And as far as I could tell there were no signs posted anywhere with “coming soon” information, so I’ll just have to make another trip back to London in a few months to see what it looks like.

I also got really excited when I saw the piece by Dale Chihuly. The artist is known for his work with glass, creating huge and intricate structures. I was fortunate enough to be able to see his exhibit back home at the Botanical Gardens in New York with my family, and so when I recognized his work in the V&A, it was like seeing a little piece of home.

This is a piece at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Here’s one from home:

Categories: 2010 Sarah
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1 response so far ↓

  •   tylerweick // Sep 21st 2010 at 14:09

    Wow. Its incredible to think how long it took to make that chandelier, and without any clear idea of how it would look until they were completed. There is a museum of glass art in Tacoma, Washington with a great collection of Chihuly works (he is from Tacoma). His simpler glass baskets show impressive craftsmanship as well.

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