11th December 2015

Towering Buddhas and Samurai swords – Year 10 and 11 pupils discover the delights of the Victoria and Albert Museum


Year 10 and 11 Art, Resistant Materials and Textile students recently enjoyed a trip to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. This is Mr Reid’s report of their day:


Twenty seven of the year 10 and 11 Art, Resistant Materials and Textile students waited patiently in the gloom of Friday morning before joining the coach from the Academy, to the London Victoria and Albert Museum.   After boarding the coach and securing ourselves in, we were off.  We made good progress, despite the early morning rush hour. There was singing on the bus along the way (I blame X Factor), and perhaps this is why we made such good progress as I did notice the driver put on his ear defenders (thank you chorus line from the “Res. Matters”)!

Spilling out onto the pavement in front of the V. and A. Mrs Ratcliffe soon had everyone gathered together in front of the Museum’s wonderful façade for a big group selfie.  We’d made it so far in one piece with no one missing.  In we went through the main entrance to be confronted by newly implemented security measures with bag searches and queues; well at least we’d all feel and be a bit safer.

With the group through security we wound our way up grand staircases and through mural lined corridors, with arches and curios alcoves, into what was blandly named “The Learning Centre”.  In  fact this included a dining hall straight out of Harry Potter, with floor to ceiling oak panelled lockers, towering over us on each side of the room (once in fact a storage room for some of the museum’s four million artefacts).  From here we split up; The Resistant Materials students heading back in time to the twentieth century Design Gallery, to discover and draw inspiration from the range of designer artefacts.  (We had cabinets by Charles Renne Mackintosh and crazy swirling bookshelves by Ron Araad) . The room was a curiosity shop of shapes, colour and materials.

Meanwhile Mrs Ratcliffe’s Artists and Textilers headed off on a journey of discovery.  Tasked with tracking down key artefacts drawn from the Museum’s entire collection, they began their search along the nine miles of corridors.

Time passed,( if time can pass in such a place, where history lurks in every nook and cranny), and eventually the intrepid students re-emerged triumphant with their discoveries. We reconvened back in the “Harry Potter” room sharing stories of our discoveries.

With heads counted we made our return journey back through the museum to the main entrance. We passed Samuri swords and Samuri armour, darkened side rooms crammed with some of the world’s weirdest jewellery and towering golden Buddha’s in the museums more cavernous exhibition halls. Not to mention the ancient Greek statues of athletes; sculptures created with incredible attention to detail and form. The museum is an amazing treasure trove, a place that I hope will inspire our young people, and where hopefully they may well return, and possibly take their own children in future years.

Thank you again to Mrs Ratcliffe, Miss Stacpoole and Mrs Shaw who all gave their time and support to the visit.

Anthony Reid

(Head of Faculty for Art and Technology, St Aldhelms Academy)

V&A photo

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