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V&A’s Photography Centre opens as part of its FuturePlan initiative


London’s V&A Museum has opened its new Photography Centre – a dedicated space showing works including the Royal Photographic Society collection, which it acquired in 2017 from the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, Yorkshire.

Boasting images from the world’s first photographic experiments, work by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen and newly commissioned works by Thomas Ruff, the centre also houses a new, purpose-built storage facility where photographs can be viewed in the Prints & Drawings Study Room when not on display.

A second phase is planned for the Photography Centre and is expected to open in 2022. This will add a teaching and research space, a browsing library and a studio and darkroom for photographer residencies.

The new space is part of the V&A’s FuturePlan development programme – an initiative to revitalise its public areas through contemporary design and the restoration of original features.

Other projects under FuturePlan include the new Exhibition Road Quarter, which opened in 2017 and features a new entrance and temporary exhibition space; the Europe 1600-1815 Galleries, which opened in 2015; and the £13.5m redevelopment of the Museum of Childhood in east London, which will be completed for the museum’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

“In an era when everyone’s iPhone makes them a photographer, the V&A’s Photography Centre explores and explains the medium in a compelling new way,” said Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A.

“Our collection – initiated by the V&A’s visionary first director Henry Cole – seamlessly spans the entire history of photography, telling the story of the medium from the daguerreotype to the digital.”

The V&A opened its new museum in Dundee, Scotland last month. Designed by architect Kengo Kuma, it is the first dedicated design museum in the country.

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