If there’s one thing London is good at during its coldest and wettest months, it’s free warm spaces with thousands of years of history stashed inside them. And so, armed with our Oyster cards and a packed lunch, on March 29th West London London’s clients and volunteers took a trip to the crème de la crème of the city’s museums: the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Centre volunteer Fiona Parkin served as our excellent and knowledgable tour guide, unfolding the stories behind a choice number of the 2.3 million objects in the museum that represent over 5,000 years of everyday human life. Following Fiona through different floors and spaces, we spent much of our time in the peaceful British Galleries, in which we were immersed into 400 years of British society.
Confronted with a vast history of textiles, furniture, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, jewellery, prints and clothing, Fiona walked us through how these reveal how everyday British society once was and has changed. We particularly loved coming face-to-face with the famous 18th Century Melville Bed in all its glory, and wandering amongst the 17th century gowns, 18th century dresses and post-war styles in the Fashion Galleries.
The trip was a wonderful way for clients and volunteers alike to step back in time together with the museum collections. But beyond all that we gained learning from the V&A, our visit was an ideal opportunity to remind clients of the countless free public institutions, spaces and events on offer to them in the city they live in. We were able to engage with the museum on our own terms, which included a community singing session! West London Welcome will be continuing to make the most of the possibilities open to us to encourage wellbeing, curiosity, and creativity in our clients, and to remind everyone who uses our centre that these cultural spaces are open to us all to explore.