V&A Dundee

Coordinates: 56°27′26.9″N 02°58′02.0″W / 56.457472°N 2.967222°W / 56.457472; -2.967222
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V&A Dundee
Victoria and Albert Museum Logo.svg
The RRS Discovery & the V&A Museum, Dundee.jpg
The museum and RRS Discovery in September 2018
V&A Dundee is located in Dundee
V&A Dundee
Location of the V&A Dundee within Dundee
Established15 September 2018 (15 September 2018)
Location1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee, Scotland
Coordinates56°27′26.9″N 02°58′02.0″W / 56.457472°N 2.967222°W / 56.457472; -2.967222
TypeDesign museum
Visitors624,600 (2019)[1]
DirectorLeonie Bell
ChairpersonTim Allan
ArchitectKengo Kuma[2]
OwnerDesign Dundee Ltd.

V&A Dundee is a design museum in Dundee, Scotland, which opened on 15 September 2018.[3][4] The V&A Dundee is the first design museum in Scotland and the first Victoria and Albert museum outside London. The V&A Dundee is also the first building in the United Kingdom designed by Kengo Kuma.


The museum under construction in April 2017

The plan for a V&A museum in Dundee originated at the University of Dundee in 2007 when Georgina Follett (then Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design) suggested it to the University Principal, Sir Alan Langlands. Subsequently, Joan Concannon, the university's director of external relations, made a 20-minute pitch to Sir Mark Jones, then director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in which the case for Dundee was made, including its potential as an anchor for the urban regeneration of the waterfront.

A design competition took place in 2010 to decide what the museum would look like. The Japanese architect Kengo Kuma won the competition; his design was inspired by the eastern cliff edges of Scotland.[5][6]


The museum was constructed where the Olympia Leisure Centre stood previously.[7]

BAM Construction carried out the construction work beginning in April 2014. The original completion date was 2017 but it was delayed to 2018. During construction a cofferdam was installed to allow the outer wing to expand onto the River Tay and 780 tonnes of pre-cast grey concrete slabs were added to the outside of the building.[8] It cost £80.1 million to complete.[9]


The V&A Dundee opened to the public on 15 September 2018 with international and national press previews taking place beforehand from 13–14 September 2018. The opening was celebrated with a 3D Festival which featured acts such as Primal Scream, Be Charlotte and Lewis Capaldi, along with a light show and a firework display. The opening highlights were broadcast on BBC Two Scotland in a programme hosted by Edith Bowman. The museum attracted 27,201 visitors during its first week and 100,000 in its first three weeks.[10][11]

The museum was officially opened by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in a private official opening, held on 28 January 2019.[12] On 30 March 2019, the museum achieved its target of 500,000 visitors within a year, six months earlier than expected.[13]

Temporary closure[edit]

The V&A Dundee was due to launch its fourth exhibition, focusing on the fashion of Mary Quant, in early April 2020, but the museum temporarily closed on 18 March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[14]


Exhibition galleries[edit]

The exhibition galleries are where the temporary exhibitions are placed.

# Exhibition Dates Ref
1 Ocean Liners: Speed and Style 15 September 2018 – 24 February 2019
2 Video Games: Design/Play/Disrupt 20 April 2019 – 8 September 2019
3 Hello, Robot: Design Between Human and Machine 2 November 2019 – 23 February 2020
4 Mary Quant 27 August 2020 – 17 January 2021 [15]
5 Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1 May 2021 – 9 January 2022 [16]
6 Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer 5 March 2022 – 4 September 2022 [17]
7 Plastic: Remaking Our World 29 October 2022 – 5 February 2023
8 Tartan 1 April 2023

Scottish Design Galleries[edit]

The Scottish Design Galleries feature permanent design works from across Scotland.

The Oak Room[edit]

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Oak Room was originally completed in 1908 after being commissioned by Catherine Cranston for use as a tearoom on Ingram Street in Glasgow. The 13.5-metre-long double-height room now forms a part of the permanent Scottish Design Gallery at the museum. The Oak Room was restored from over 700 original parts that had been stored by the Glasgow City Council for over 50 years. The room took 16 months to install, and the total cost of the restoration and conservation was £1.3 million (2018).[18][19]

List of directors[edit]

Tenure Director
2018–2020 Phillip Long OBE
2020–present Leonie Bell


V&A Dundee has received mixed reviews. It had been praised for being Scotland's first design museum and opening interactive exhibitions such as the Hello Robot exhibition in 2019. The museum was also named as one of the best places to visit in the world by TIME Magazine in 2019.[20] It was the subject in 2019 of a profile in the Sky Arts programme The Art of Architecture.[21]

In the first few months after opening, the museum was also criticised by architects because of the amount of unused space; some called the building "alarming" for elderly visitors, "silly", and "boring".[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ALVA – Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". www.alva.org.uk. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  2. ^ "V&A Dundee: First look inside Kengo Kuma's 'stunning' museum". 12 September 2018.
  3. ^ Moore, Rowan (15 September 2018). "V&A Dundee review – a flawed treasure house on the Tay". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  4. ^ Morkis, Stefan (15 September 2018). "World record smashed as V&A Dundee and 3D Festival draw the crowds on museum's opening weekend". The Courier. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  5. ^ Waite, Richard; Merrick, Jay; Douglas, Mary (12 September 2018). "V&A Dundee: First look inside Kengo Kuma's "stunning" museum". Architects Journal. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  6. ^ Dundee, University of. "V&A Dundee and the University : Stories". University of Dundee. Retrieved 25 September 2018.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Museum visitors to be greeted with scene from Olympia's heyday". The National. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  8. ^ "V&A Dundee – BAM Case Study". www.bam.co.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Dundee's V&A opens its doors". BBC News.
  10. ^ "V&A Dundee welcomes 27,000 in first week". BBC News. 23 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  11. ^ "V&A Dundee attracts 100,000 visitors in the space of three weeks". Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  12. ^ "William and Kate officially open V&A Dundee". BBC News. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  13. ^ "V&A Dundee hits 500,000 visitor milestone". 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  14. ^ "V&A Dundee · Coronavirus". Victoria and Albert Museum Dundee. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  15. ^ Originally planned to run from 4 April – 6 September; however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the V&A Dundee temporarily closed, with the exhibition moved to later in the year.
  16. ^ "V&A Dundee · Night Fever: Designing Club Culture". Victoria and Albert Museum Dundee. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  17. ^ "V&A Dundee · Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer". Victoria and Albert Museum Dundee. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  18. ^ "The Oak Room". V&A Dundee. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Charles Rennie Mackintosh – Oak Room". STROMA Films.
  20. ^ "V&A Dundee Is One Of The World's Greatest Places". TIME. 2019.
  21. ^ "The Art of Architecture – S1 – Episode 3". Radio Times. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  22. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (8 September 2019). "Dundee's £80m museum is "boring" and little more than a "cafe", say experts". The Herald.

External links[edit]