The Smithsonian has confirmed plans to co-curate a gallery at V&A East when it opens in 2023. V&A East includes a five-storey museum and a new collection and research centre.
V&A East is part of East Bank, a culture and education quarter in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
The gallery will feature objects from the collections of both institutions, including some that have never been exhibited.
The display, which runs for two years, will explore humanity’s impact on the world and the evolution of our relationship with nature.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described it as “the most ambitious project of its kind for decades”, adding that visitors will “experience a unique collection”.
Objects from both institutions displayed at V&A East
In addition, the Smithsonian plans to expand STEP (Shared Training and Employment Programme), an international leadership and cultural exchange programme for young adults from diverse backgrounds in east London and Washington, DC.
STEP is designed to build skills and connections, and kickstart careers in cultural organisations. It is led by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and the Foundation for Future London (FFL).
LLDC is overseeing the development of East Bank at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will be home to Sadler’s Wells, University College London, BBC Music and UAL’s London College of Fashion.
Secretary Lonnie Bunch said: “This exhibition and young people’s leadership program aligns with my priorities of education programs, diversity and inclusion, and museum leadership development.”
V&A East opening at East Bank in 2023
He added: “I have no doubt that this mutually beneficial collaboration will allow us to share innovative programming on education, diversity and inclusion, and museum leadership development with a truly international audience.
“I envision STEP expanding to include students from Washington traveling to London.”
“It’s great to have Secretary Bunch’s endorsement of our vision for V&A East – a hugely ambitious project, with national and international partnership opportunities at its core,” said V&A director Tristram Hunt.
Hunt also said that “progress on V&A East continues at pace” and that “construction is also well underway”.
The V&A appointed Gus Casely-Hayford as the director of V&A East, who will take on his new role in spring 2020.