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New V&A digital platform launched for viewing the museum's collections

By BO LEUNG in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-02-10 07:41

A sculpture by Antonio Canova is displayed on the digital platform of London's Victoria and Albert Museum. CHINA DAILY

London's Victoria and Albert Museum has brought together a collection of more than one million objects to view in a new digital platform allowing people from around the world to explore its treasures.

The museum, commonly known as the V&A, has included more than 1.2 million pieces in the display called Explore the Collections.

For the first time, it brings together data, stories, images and content from the V&A's vast collection, which includes costumes, books, photography fashion and architecture, in one place.

The V&A said the new online experience forms a key part of its goal to transform access to national collections, which will culminate in new collections and a research center at V&A East in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, an entirely new cultural experience and the first of its kind in the UK.

Explore the Collections has been redesigned for better user experience and provides a "new, fluid and story-led approach", where viewers can search for specific objects, or the site can recommend content, based on interests.

Tim Reeve, deputy director at the V&A, said the new platform comes at a time when the way people engage with museums has changed, particularly during the pandemic.

"Explore the Collections is one of the museum's most significant digital undertakings to date, and supports the V&A's goal of revolutionizing access to the V&A's collections, and diversifying and expanding audiences, as we expand toward East London and V&A East," Reeve said. "While the museum's doors remain closed, the platform provides a vital resource for research and discovery of the V&A's public collections to a worldwide audience."

The V&A said the new online platform includes enhanced search features, unites collections data with editorial content so audiences can explore the bigger picture, and creates new opportunities to discover, appreciate and learn about similar objects in their collection.

Kati Price, head of digital media and publishing at the V&A said: "From handbags to Raphael, and from jewellery to kimono, we wanted to celebrate our stories about material culture, now and for the future. The V&A looks after over 2.3m exceptional objects, archives and books, but much of what we hold cannot be displayed in our buildings. This project is about sharing as much as we can, with as many people as possible."

As well as bolstering its online content, the V&A is transforming its physical spaces, including redeveloping the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green to become a world-leading center of creativity for children, as well as building the new V&A East in Stratford.

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