Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Victoria and Albert Museum
The museum was established in 1852 as the South Kensington Museum, following the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was renamed in 1899 in honour of Queen Victoria and her late consort Albert.
One of the most beloved parts of the museum is the two Cast Courts, housing hundreds of plaster casts of sculptures, friezes and tombs. One of these is dominated by a full-scale replica of Trajan's Column, cut in half in order to fit under the ceiling. The V&A also houses Britain's national collection of sculpture; although currently poorly displayed the highlights are Bernini's fountain of Neptune and Triton and Canova's Three Graces.
Recently, controversy surrounded the Museum's proposed building of an £80 million extension called The Spiral, designed by Daniel Libeskind, which was criticised as out of keeping with the architecture of the original buildings. The Spiral's design was described by some as looking like jumbled cardboard boxes. In September 2004, the Museum's Board of Trustees voted to abandon the design after failing to receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund .
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