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V&A Instrument Gallery, UK

sian, west wales 22 Jan 10 - 08:04 AM
Tootler 22 Jan 10 - 09:26 AM
EnglishFolkfan 22 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 22 Jan 10 - 10:00 AM
black walnut 22 Jan 10 - 11:32 AM
VirginiaTam 23 Jan 10 - 09:48 AM
Stower 28 Jan 10 - 04:44 AM
manitas_at_work 28 Jan 10 - 07:26 AM
Ross Campbell 28 Jan 10 - 07:36 AM
sian, west wales 28 Jan 10 - 08:32 AM
Ross Campbell 28 Jan 10 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Ray 28 Jan 10 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 28 Jan 10 - 02:33 PM
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Subject: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: sian, west wales
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 08:04 AM

I haven't seen anythingn on the 'Cat about this, and nothing shows up on a search for V&A, museum or instruments so ...

It seems that the Victoria & Albert Museum is thinking about getting rid of its historic instruments gallery. There's a lot of information about it on Facebook under, "Keep the V&A Instrument Gallery Open" but I also see that there is a petition here which British citizens might want to sign.

For some background, take a look at Classical Music

sian


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 09:26 AM

An utter disgrace. I went to look at the collection once. I was particularly interested in their recorders at the time but they have a wide and varied collection of musical instruments.

Reading the article in "Classical Music" makes it quite clear that the current V&A director is a philistine to say the least and to say that "The history of music and performance is not within the remit of the museum" is appalling.

I will sign the petition later but I am on my travels just now so will wait until I am in a more suitable place than a train.


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: EnglishFolkfan
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 09:40 AM

Story has been passed round on Twitter with links to FB & e-petition. the FB discussions give useful information about why other Museums eg Hornimans may not be good alternative home for the collection.

One wonders if a better place might be c/o one of the UK Music Colleges (need sponsorship/funding for a purpose built place maybe). Would give a better opportunity for scholarship study & hands on playing/loans to musicians as practised by other Country's National music collections.


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 10:00 AM

I think the instruments are being slung out to make way for a display of pop-fashion, or fashion of some kind. Sigh. Writ on water...


http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23795043-music-is-the-loser-in-th


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: black walnut
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 11:32 AM

So it's all hidden already? I'm going over to London in the spring. I would love to see this collection. Sigh, indeed...

(But please don't diss costume display. It's another art, and my daughter is heavily involved in it and has shown one of her pieces at a V&A show).

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 09:48 AM

signed and tweeted a link to the petition


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: Stower
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 04:44 AM

The Lute Society have received this reply to their concerns;

Thank you for your recent e-mail, which I have forwarded to the Director as you requested. We do understand the widespread concern about the future of the musical instruments in this collection but I am sure that you will understand that, in such a large institution, development plans cannot address all parts of the collection at the same time.

I can assure you that we are working very actively to ensure that the collection remains accessible to the public and to specialists, working with the Horniman Museum and the Edinburgh University Collection, as well as reviewing the collection for inclusion of items in galleries here at the Museum. Part of my work at our Olympia store this week has, indeed, to push forward our plans for high quality storage of the instruments that will allow of easy access for scholars to those pieces which do not go on loan. We have already begun work to clear areas of our furniture store which will be fitted out specially to take the instruments, so that they will be available for students and scholars again from the end of June 2010.

I hope this addresses some of your concerns and underlines that we are taking all possible steps to ensure that the collection remains available.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Medlam
Deputy Keeper
Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 07:26 AM

What about those of us who do not qualify as scholars? I thought museums were for all.


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 07:36 AM

Here's the link to the petition page:-

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/VandAchange/

I used to haunt the musical instrument gallery once I discovered it in the early '70s. The two-volume catalogue is still one of my treasures. The variety and quality of the collection is amazing.

Access to the gallery has been limited to a couple of days a week for a few years now - bit of a waste of time if you came to London for a day at the museum unaware that you wouldn't be able to see the object of your journey.

Ross


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: sian, west wales
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 08:32 AM

There is another petition here which, I understand, is open to international signees.

I've never been to the Horniman but I've seen comments that it's pretty poorly provided for in terms of public transportation. I love visiting Edinburgh but ... not sure that it's a home for this particular national collection.

sian


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 12:11 PM

The Horniman is easily reached from central London despite lack of Underground provision south of the river. A loop route runs from London Bridge station to Waterloo. Forest Hill Station can be reached from either end, and it's just a short walk up the hill from there to the Horniman. Its musical instrument collection has a much wider ethnic basis than the V&A's, and places more emphasis on context rather than decorative value. Some years ago it acquired Neil Wayne's former Concertina Museum collection, including his extensive and thorough catalogue. The museum felt this collection fitted well with its "arts of the people" focus. They were processing the instruments when I visited (some years ago; the collection haas been on display for several years now), so I didn't get to see any, but the view of the catalogue I had was worth the trip in itself.

The only musical instrument museum I can think of in Edinburgh is the Russell Collection of Harpsichords, part of the University Music Department, visitable by appointment and sometimes more readily during the Edinburgh International Festival, when recitals on original instruments occasionally feature.

These are both excellent museums, and well worth a visit in their own right. There are others, including an excellent collection at the Museum of Musical Instruments, Royal College of Music, just round the corner from the V&A.

But I didn't get the impression that there was any intention to hive off the V&A collection to other institutions, rather the entire gallery's contents would be put in storage warehouses (location who knows?) where access would be available by arrangement to academics. Why an amateur's interest would be regarded as any less valid is debatable, but the logistics of allowing public access to such sites (staffing, security,etc) make it extremely unlikely that you or I would ever have anything like the opportuinities to view or study that have been available up to now. Even in Margaret Thatcher's day, when you had to pay to get in to our National Museums, at least you could make a choice about it.

I see this as a very bad move, and oppose it wholeheartedly.

Ross


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 12:23 PM

The V&A needs to be reminded that we, the public, actually own it. I remember the Guardian issuing badges to this effect some years ago when the introduced a "voluntary" admission charge. Would such institutions not find their running costs reduced if they chose to relocate to somewhere other than London?


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Subject: RE: V&A Instrument Gallery, UK
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 02:33 PM

I went to London last year and visited the V&A with the specific intention of seeing their musical instruments (in fact that was one of my reasons for visiting London in the first place). I found they only opened the musical instrument gallery about one day a month, and weren´t going to when I was there.

No way in hell do I intend to visit the V&A again, ever (a vast collection of posh furniture in appalling taste, with some moderately interesting temporary displays that could have been put on anywhere).

I am in Barcelona at the moment and visited the musical instrument museum here (at the L'Auditori complex) a couple of days ago. It has about the same amount of visible stuff as the Horniman but is VASTLY better organized and displayed. They´ve really gone for it and made a resource which is a first-rate resource for everyone from primary school children to research scholars.

The Reid musical instrument museum in Edinburgh is somewhat more comprehensible than the Horniman but they have no space for anything more. It´s got only a tenth of the space of the Museu de Musica.

Obviously the V&A needs to be relieved of its musical instruments, and of the corresponding funding and staff positions - they simply aren´t doing a useful job. I don´t believe there is any institution in the UK in a position to take over. Perhaps they should just ask the Generalitat de Catalunya to take the lot.


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