London Museum V & A Comes to Dundee

31st January 2009

The Victoria and Albert museum is poised to open an offshoot in Dundee, its first outside London, in a move that promises to revitalise one of Scotland’s most deprived cities.

The venture, part of an ambitious plan to reverse Dundee’s industrial decline, will concentrate on areas such as fashion, photography and jewellery.

An independent feasibility study, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, Dundee University and Dundee City Council, has claimed that the museum could generate £18m a year for the local economy, attract up to 130,000 extra tourists a year by 2015 and create more than 850 full-time jobs. It was carried out by London-based consultants, Whetstone Group and Conran & Partners.

City officials plan to build an iconic building to house the museum on the banks of the Tay and to create a charitable trust to attract “friends” of Dundee to finance the project. The museum will hold up to two exhibitions a year and some of the V&A’s finest collections.

The V&A, in South Kensington, London, has one of the greatest photography archives in the world, consisting of more than 500,000 images and its fashion collection dates from the 17th century to the present. Its recent exhibitions have included the clothes of Kylie Minogue and Russian tsarist costumes.

Alex Salmond, the first minister, said: “This is a very interesting idea with lots of potential and I know Dundee’s MSPs are working very hard on it.”

Shona Robison, the public health minister and MSP for Dundee East, added: “I am greatly excited at the scale of this project and the ambition it brings to Dundee. There will be huge benefits to the city.”

Kevin Keenan, leader of Dundee council, said the local authority would work with the trust to house the museum. Plans to bring the V&A to Dundee have also been welcomed by some of its most famous sons and daughters.

Brian Cox, the actor is known to be a supporter. Last week, Lorraine Kelly, the GMTV presenter and former rector of Dundee University, said: “I’m 100% behind it. It would be an amazing thing for the city and bring in even more visitors.”

Professor Georgina Follett, deputy principal of Dundee University, said: “There’s a risk of being a cultural outpost if you are outside London or Edinburgh. We want to put Dundee on the international map. An iconic building can do so much for the perception of a city.”

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