Scotland Travel

V&A Dundee

V&A Dundee is a design museum in Dundee, Scotland, which opened in January this year. I was excited to visit it, considering how great is the V&A from London (I blogged about it in 2015, but I’ve been to the museum many times, I’d say around 5 times). Also, as I’ve been to the Design Museum (post from 2017), in London , I had pretty high expectations for this one as well.

V&A Dundee

The building looks spectacular, although this was not why I went to this museum, but because it is shortlisted for the Museum of the Year 2019 award, alongside St Fagans National Museum of History, HMS Caroline in Belfast, Nottingham Contemporary, and Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.

V&A Dundee entrance

V&A Dundee stairs

The building looks just as splendid on the inside.

V&A Dundee window

With these cute small windows to see outside. The architecture looked promising, this being the only design museum outside London.

V&A Dundee Scottish Design Galleries

Unfortunately this is where the excitement stops. These are the Scottish Design Galleries. I picked four highlights from the galleries. Yes! Only 4! The galleries are so small and not very interesting either. The museum is such a disappointment. See at the end what I’d recommend when it comes to another museum in Dundee.

Besides this permanent exhibition, there is also the special exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, until the beginning of September. We missed that as it’s not something we are interested in.

V&A Dundee golf balls on display

Golf balls, of course, with the amount of golf courses in Scotland, it would have been strange not to see some golf balls on display.

The one of the left is from 1840s, made with leather and feathers. Next to the right is from 1850s, made with gutta percha, a rubber plant, next one is from 1910, rubber-core, and the last one is from 2004.

V&A Dundee Scottish Design Galleries

A shawl, another item I was expecting to see on display. Indian Paisley shawls were expensive, made out of Kashmir, so cheaper models were made in Scotland. These shawls were very fashionable in the late 18th century. I knew their story from an art exhibition and event I’ve been to last year, Slaves of Fashion.

V&A Dundee - Orkney chair on display

This is a traditional Orkney chair, popular around the 1900s. The chairs were made with dried black oat straw and driftwood. This chair that is on display is from that period, made with pine and straw, sewn with bent grass and rush.

V&A Dundee - Wedding dress by Alexander MxQueen

Lastly is a Wedding dress from the Widows of Culloden collection, by Alexander McQueen, made in 2006, with tulle, lace, and imitation pearls. He made the collection to explore his Scottish heritage.

V&A Dundee car on display

This is the same car, it’s rather interesting.

View from V&A Dundee

If you are looking for somewhere to learn more about Dundee and Scottish history, I’d recommend McManus, an art gallery & museum. It’s a huge museum, in about 40 minutes we were able to see only the ground floor. It’s free as well. If you have the time, visit that one too. It is only a short walk from V&A, about 10 minutes or so.

V&A is on 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee, DD1 4EZ. There are plenty of car parks nearby and the museum is free to visit. There are special exhibitions you’d need to pay for though.

5 Comment

  1. What a pity the museum wasn’t up to your expectations. I suppose it’s hard to match the London V&A with its vast collection. The building itself look stylish, and I like the little windows. I wouldn’t be interested in the gaming exhibition either.
    Love the shawl, so beautiful.

  2. The architecture and gowns are lovely but I know it’s always disappointing when one has very high hopes for something and it fails to live up to expectations.

  3. What awesome architecture on this museum! I never knew golf balls were once made with leather and feathers. I would have enjoyed the fashion exhibits.

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