Inside every museum is a hidden world, and now cameras have been allowed back behind the scenes at the world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
And although many of us have had to stay away over the last year, in the V&A’s workshops and storerooms the work to conserve some of the two million wonders in the museum’s collection has continued. In this second series of Secrets Of The Museum, we follow experts and conservators at work in this treasure trove of the nation’s favourite objects, as they breathe new life into fragile marvels, uncover hidden stories, and work tirelessly to keep the past alive for all of us.
In the first episode we join Theatre and Performance keeper Geoff, who has just taken delivery of a rare survivor from one of pop’s most flamboyant periods: an eye-popping red lurex suit, belonging to bass player Jim Lea from Slade. Also in this episode is a 500-year-old wax, modelled by the great Renaissance master Michelangelo, which is being brought out of hibernation. This Michelangelo model, made as a template for a much larger sculpture, is one of the greatest treasures of the V&A.
Christ, St Paul And The Theological Virtues by Jacob Jordaens is a preparatory drawing that will feature in a display of Renaissance watercolours. However, when inspecting the painting close up, the curator discovers that the surface is covered in white dots. Unless conservator Alan can remove the white dots in time for the exhibition, the Flemish master may remain unseen by the public for many more years to come.
And lastly, before the pandemic struck, the V&A opened an exhibition celebrating the national dress of Japan - the kimono. One piece that didn’t make it in time for the opening arrived late - a kimono by Serge Mouangue, a contemporary Cameroon-born designer known for his innovative fusions of West African and Japanese style.
Secrets Of The Museum returns Tuesday 20th July at 8pm on BBC Two.