Back courtyard of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This the facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum viewed from the back courtyard

Just kidding, sort of. I’m sure the British have indeed purchased most of the items in the museum, though it would be interesting to discover which they have been given and which they have taken.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, like most of London, is a complicated maze with a surprise around every corner and filled head to toe with diverse histories and cultures.  One of the main exhibits there was Club to Catwalk London Fashion in the 1980’s, which displayed the main fashion trends of England throughout history, starting with Victorian era dresses and ending with, well, 80’s fashion.  Because of the large fashion exhibit, there was a group of middle school aged students taking fashion shots of strangers for a project (they have different school schedules than America).  Since I was rocking a new jumpsuit from the magical store of Primark, I got asked twice to be a model!  Who could argue with adorable British school children asking you to model your jumper?

 

Back to the educational side of the museum, countries and time periods divided the rest of the museum up.  One of my personal favorites was the Middle East display because of its contrast with traditional European art, which we have been seeing a lot of since we got here.  The Middle Eastern artifacts were bright, bold, dramatically patterned, showing their unique use of color and texture.  It was a lot more Moroccan looking, even up to modern day decorative standards, versus the traditional Italian art and British simplicity that we have been surrounded by.

Part of an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This is part of an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

 

The museum held many huge items, such as a wall that used to be on the outside of the building, which the museum simply built around to keep it inside. Also, there were many life-sized replicas,  including a Greek pillar, made by art students throughout the centuries that have been preserved in the safety of the museum. These giants were great for us because it allowed us to see amazing artifacts without having to travel to the specific places where the originals were from. Overall, the Victoria and Albert Museum helped us short-term travelers experience the world in one mind-blowing and peaceful place.

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Samantha Schwanke

Samantha graduated with a BA in English and a Mass Communications minor in 2014. She is originally from Owatonna, MN and her hobbies include hanging out with family and friends, playing musical instruments (flute, piccolo, piano and accordion), watching movies, shaving her dog stitching kitchen towels….you know, the normal stuff. ​