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V&A prepares to reopen with new safety rules and…

The director of the Victoria & Albert Museum has said he wants visitors to “focus on what they want to see, what they want to do and what they want to enjoy” when the museum reopens its doors on August 6.

The huge glass Rotunda Chandelier by Dale Chihuly, which hangs under the dome of the main entrance, has been specially cleaned in anticipation of the return of visitors, after the longest closure in the history of the museum due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, told the PA news agency: “The Cromwell Road is a busy old road and we had four million visitors to the V&A last year so there is a bit of dust on the glass and we want it to shimmer and we want it to glitter.

“We want a bit of magic because I think after all these months of lockdown and all this time looking at screens, the chance to look at a great work of glass or a great work of sculpture or a great work of ceramics is an opportunity not to be missed.”

He added: “We want everyone to have a really wonderful and enjoyable time at the museum so we are going to take care of all of the sanitation issues so that you can enjoy yourselves here.

“So face masks are mandatory, free timed ticketed entry, a limit on numbers to the museum, lots of hand sanitiser, but then when you are in you can enjoy the world’s greatest collection of art, design and performance.

“(Visitors) have to have booked a ticket online through the V&A website, which will be on their pones, which we will scan so that we can do test and trace information so that we make sure for the numbers who are coming in it is a safe environment.

“But really what they need to focus on what they want to see, what they want to do and what they want to enjoy and how they can relax and so come through the front door and then immerse yourself in renaissance sculpture, or our wonderful gardens or our cask courts, so it’s about enjoyment here at the V&A.”

The V&A said the “seven miles of galleries” in its building will reopen in phases, beginning with the ground floor collection galleries.

Its Kimono: Kyoto To Catwalk exhibition, which closed just two weeks into its run, has now been extended and will reopen on August 27.

An exhibition on handbags will open later this year, while exhibitions on art, design and culture in Iran and an Alice In Wonderland exhibition are planned for next year.

The Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, which are close neighbours of the V&A in the South Kensington museum district, have announced their doors will reopen on August 5 and August 19 respectively.

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