The Young V&A

Introducing the Young V&A, a groundbreaking museum designed entirely for children up to 14 years old. After consulting with over 22,000 children, parents, educators, and specialists, the team behind the museum aimed to create an institution that would be informal, surprising, challenging, and friendly—a place where children can actively shape their experiences.

The Young V&A is a result of a broader shift in the museum sector, focusing on designing with, rather than for, children. Instead of developing educational programs as an afterthought, curatorial and learning teams worked together to select objects and create engaging experiences.

Divided into three age-appropriate spaces, the Young V&A features sensory-led exhibits, hands-on activities, and notable inventions by young people. By embedding sensory learning in its strategies, the museum recognizes that children learn through experience. The Young V&A sets a new precedent by displaying objects from the parent museum’s collection, making it the first children’s museum to showcase a national collection of artworks.

Despite the significant child population in the UK, there is a lack of museums tailored to children’s needs and interests. The Young V&A, formerly known as the Museum of Childhood, is taking steps to address this issue by striking a balance between conservation and facilitating instinctive learning and exploration through tactile experiences.

Featured Image: Rendering of the new Young V&A Museum in Bethnal Green. Source: V&A Museum


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