Victoria and Albert Museum

House of Lords written question – answered on 25th February 2010.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Liberal Democrat 25th February 2010

To ask Her Majesty's Government what the intentions of the Victoria and Albert Museum are for the long-term future of their antique musical instrument collection; and, if they do not plan to exhibit the collection, whether they will offer it to another museum.

Photo of Lord Davies of Oldham Lord Davies of Oldham Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 25th February 2010

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) closed its musical instruments gallery on 22 February, as part of the museum's ongoing refurbishment plans. The V&A will instead display some of its musical instruments in context of its other collections within the museum. Objects from the collection will be displayed in the British galleries, the medieval and renaissance galleries, the furniture gallery (due to open in 2012) and the Europe 1600-1800 galleries (due to open in 2014).

The museum has also agreed to the long-term loan of key objects from the V&A's collection of musical instruments to the Horniman Museum in London, which has a nationally designated collection of musical instruments. The V&A is also in discussions with several other institutions with significant musical collections, and expects to be making further loans.

Any objects not on display will be accessible by appointment as part of the museum's study collections at Blythe House in Kensington Olympia.

The V&A operates at arm's length from the Government. Decisions on curatorial and operational matters such as the future of the musical instruments gallery are therefore entirely a matter for the museum's trustees and executive.

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