V&A Dundee named ‘best new museum’ by leading American newspaper

The Los Angeles Times has praises Dundee's waterfront landmark ahead of its opening. Picture: contributed
The Los Angeles Times has praises Dundee's waterfront landmark ahead of its opening. Picture: contributed
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Dundee’s V&A building has been named the world’s best new museum to explore in 2018 – seven months before it opens its doors.

The Los Angeles Times, one of America’s biggest-selling newspapers, has rated it ahead of major new attractions in Egypt and Tokyo.

Dundee’s £80 million museum, which has been in the planning for more than a decade, will open in September with a major exhibition charting the history of the world’s great ocean liners.

The Los Angeles Times has compared the museum, the first to be opened by the V&A anywhere in the world outside London, as “a stylised ship floating on the River Tay”.

Construction work on the building, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, was completed last month. It is now being fitted out with its exhibition galleries, as well as a cafe and restaurant which will boast views over the river to the Fife coastline.

The forthcoming opening of Scotland’s first ever design museum, which is expected to attract around 350,000 visitors a year, has already helped Dundee be crowned as “Scotland’s coolest city”.

In a Wall Street Journal article last October, Dundee was named one of the world’s ten hottest destinations for “adventurous sophisticates, curious foodies and deep-pocketed beach bums” to visit in 2018, alongside Shanghai, Madagascar, Grenada and the Faroe Islands.

In its article, the Los Angeles Times said: “London’s V&A Museum, once called the Victoria and Albert, traces its roots back to 1851. This year, V&A Dundee will open on the east coast of Scotland as the first satellite museum to bear the name. The remarkable building made with more than 2000 cast-stone panels looks like a stylized ship floating on the River Tay. Scottish design — architecture, ceramics, jewellery, textiles and more — will be the focus.”

Two of the four galleries museum will have permanent displays telling “the story of Scotland’s outstanding design heritage”. Around 300 objects spanning 500 years will showcase everything from furniture, textiles, metalwork and ceramics to the latest digital technology, innovations in the health service, modern-day architecture and fashions.

Going on display will be a 500-year-old book of Christian text, prayers and psalms featuring several Scottish saints, a Jacobite garter, a Highland pistol, a pair of “Wellington Boots,” a Dennis the Menace artwork from the famous comic strip and an elephant-shaped case designed by artist Eduardo Paolozzi for linoleum company Nairn Floors.

Council leader John Alexander said: “Our city is at the centre of unprecedented global attention as anticipation mounts ahead of the September opening of V&A Dundee. This demonstrates the transformational impact it is already having,”

V&A Dundee ran into serious trouble three years ago when it emerged its cost had almost doubled from £45m. But since work began in March 2015 it has been running to schedule.