World’s first museum designed with and for children comes to London from July 2023

The Young V&A will open in London’s Bethnal Green on July 1st following a three-year transformation in making the city a major cultural destination for children, families, and young people.

Young V&A (the former V&A Museum of Childhood) will open in London on July 1, 2023, following a three-year transformation. Located on the site of the former V&A Museum of Childhood – east London’s
first museum – in Bethnal Green, the institution requested a £13 million investment to breath new life into the institution.

The museum is due to become a major new destination for children, families, and young people in Britain capital city, designed with and for children aged 0 to 14. Young V&A will showcase the transformative power of creativity, displaying remarkable and optimistic stories of children’s ingenuity alongside 2,000 works from the V&A’s collection of art, design, and performance.

London’s V&A is one of Europe’s major institution for applied and fine arts. Young V&A’s mission is to inspire the next generation. Designed collaboratively with children, the museum has been shaped around their interests to encourage playful learning, foster creative agency, and spark imaginations. Rooted in the latest research into early years’ development, three galleries, Play, Imagine and Design, will help children build the skills and creative confidence they need in an often challenging environment.

Dr Helen Charman, Director of Young V&A, said: “Young V&A is a clarion call for the vital importance of creativity in children and young people’s lives. We want Young V&A to inspire young people and families with the creative ingenuity of art, performance, and design, to empower educators from early years workers to teachers, parents, and carers to promote creativity, and to influence child-centred museum practice across the sector. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to Young V&A this July.”

With curated spaces designed for babies to teens, family-friendly exhibitions and a programme of free events, London’s Young V&A’s galleries are all packed full of interactive and hands on activities. Highlights include colourful and tactile sensory landscapes for infants and toddlers, performance and story-telling spaces for early readers and writers, an open design studio where children can learn from leading designers, as well as topical contemporary displays and a games design space for teens.

World's first museum designed with and for children comes to London from July 2023
Rendering of the toddlers and infants section | Credit: V&A

Multiple galleries with exhibitions including even works of Greta Thunberg

Among the galleries opened for kids are :

– An interactive Minecraft installation in the Play Gallery’s game design space ‘The Arcade’. The installation, built by Blockworks with support from Mojang and Microsoft, begins in a recreation of Young V&A’s Town Square, before taking visitors across real and imaginary worlds created by Minecraft players across the globe.

– New murals by street artist Mark Malarko inspired by creative workshops with children at Weavers Adventure Playground, nearby Young V&A. Malarko is known for his cartoon-like characters and vibrant street art in cities around the world from London to Athens, Barcelona, and Berlin.

– This Is Me, a co-curated display of new portraits by photographer Rehan Jamil capturing young people expressing what creativity means to them, set alongside self- portraits by leading creatives from Chila Kumari Singh Burman to Quentin Blake, Kenneth Branagh, Dapo Adeola, and Linda McCartney.

– To show how design can change the world by giving people and issues a voice, the Design gallery will include 1913 prints designed by The Suffrage Atelier demanding equality for women, artwork from the XR Families Group encouraging children to express their concerns for the environment through arts and crafts, and works by youth climate activist, Greta Thunberg.

– Innovative creations by young people made for Raspberry Pi’s Coolest Projects competition devising new tech solutions, including a gas leak detector designed by 11-year-old Sashrika Das and the EleVoc 2022 human-elephant conflict device by Chinmayi Ramasubramanian, aged 14.

– London Young V&A’s first exhibition will highlight “Japan: Myths to Manga” from October 14, 2023. From sky to sea, and into the forest and city, the exhibition will take visitors on an atmospheric trip through Japanese history to explore how landscape and folklore have influenced popular culture, technology, and design.

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