Thursday, 23 July 2009

V & A National Art Library and Museum

National Art Library

The National Art Library is closed access because it is a reference library. They use Dewey, but also use their own in house system that is classified by size. It was interesting to learn how the Great Exhibit of 1851 lead to an increased interest in libraries and museums for the general public.
Funding for this library comes from the main museum and the DCMS. The collection grows daily and is currently numbered at around 2 million items and 75,000 being books. Items come from all over the globe and in every language, as long as they are related to art. The majority of the budget is spent on journals, which I found to be interesting. They receive and send out many exchange books and gifts with other libraries around the world. The special collections focus on the 'art' of the book, and design through history. Only a small percentage of the collection is digitized because of costs and time constraints.

We had the opportunity to view some incredible items, like medieval manuscripts from the 15th century. One of Shakespeare's first folios was on display as well as a hand written John Keats piece. Another treasure was a 1st edition copy from 1853of Bleak House by Dickens that he proof read and marked this original copy! It was incredible to have the chance to see these items, and not behind glass!

Beautiful, isn't it? What a treasure! It was an honor to be given such free access to these items. Sure I've seen a few behind glass, but nothing beats being this close to one of the first folios! History at my fingertips...

This is one of the mid-evil manuscripts, notice how bright and beautiful the colors are still.

The National Art Museum

I could have spent days here! This is one museum that I spent the most time in and still felt like I might have missed something (and I bet I did). I was there until closing and still, there was not enough time. When I think of an art museum, this is NOT what comes to mind. I'm glad the V&A was able to change my perception. There was fashion, jewelry, costumes, theater, furniture, ceramics, photography, and much, much more! Of course there was what I expected of an art museum, a portrait gallery, paintings, drawings and sculptures.

We had too much fun playing dress up in the exhibits for costumes! Behind me and Cassie, you will see a dressing room with authentic items from Kylie Minogue. Not all that interesting in terms of musical selection, but very fun collection all the same!

*Photo courtesy of Lauren Dodd :)

I implore you, visit them online!
You will not be disappointed.

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