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Opening date for Dundee’s £80.1 million V&A museum revealed

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Dundee’s £80.1 million V&A museum will finally open its doors to the public for the first time time on Saturday September 15.

And its first visiting exhibition from the V&A London will be Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, which explores the design of some of the world’s most famous ships including The Titanic, Normandie, the Queen Mary and the Canberra.

V&A Dundee director Philip Long announced the long-awaited opening date on Thursday morning.

He said: “After many years of planning for V&A Dundee, we are absolutely thrilled to announce the date of the new museum’s opening.

Half a million visitors expected at V&A in first year

“In just eight months we will be opening the doors and welcoming our first visitors. V&A Dundee is set to be a vital new cultural organisation for Dundee, the UK and beyond, helping to change understanding of just how important design and creativity are to people’s lives. We are enormously grateful to all our supporters for helping to make this happen.

“V&A Dundee brings something new to Scotland. It is the country’s first museum dedicated to design, which visitors will be able to experience and get involved with in very many ways.

“Particularly important is that the new museum enables major V&A exhibitions to be seen more widely by more people across the UK.

Inaugural V&A exhibition to recreate ocean liner experience

“So I am especially excited that part of V&A Dundee’s opening programme will be the breath-taking exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed & Style, the first of many ambitious exhibitions at V&A Dundee that will show how our lives have been – and always will be – shaped by design.”

Plans for the V&A were first made public in 2007 and the museum was originally supposed to open in 2014.

But construction did not start until in January the following year Dundee City Council bosses revealed the cost of building the Kengo Kuma-designed building had soared from £45 million to £80.1 million.

Construction finally began in March 2015 when a huge cofferdam was created, allowing the museum to be built out over the Tay.

Dundee City Council leader Councillor John Alexander said: “Our city is now receiving high-profile international attention and confirmation of the opening date for V&A Dundee will boost this further.

“This is an exciting day to look forward to for people in Dundee and visitors alike. I would like to thank everyone involved in the huge team effort to construct the building, which is an amazing feat of engineering, and to curate such fascinating design displays.

“This date marks the opening of an exciting new chapter for our city, as we strive to provide new economic opportunities and make Dundee a better place for everyone.”

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, said: “The opening of V&A Dundee this year will be a remarkable moment for Dundee, the V&A and the UK. The V&A was founded to champion British design, showcase the greatest works of creative ingenuity and enrich everyone’s imagination.

“V&A Dundee will build on our deep connections to the story of Scottish design and its meaning for modern practitioners, sharing our collections and world-class exhibitions. This is a cultural milestone for Dundee and a new opportunity for the UK to show the world how art and design can educate and inspire.”

V&A Dundee is being developed with support from the Scottish Government, Heritage Lottery Fund, Dundee City Council, the UK Government, Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, University of Dundee, Abertay University and many trusts and private donors.

Scottish Government culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “V&A Dundee will be a major addition to Scotland’s already strong collection of museums and visitor attractions. It is the flagship of Dundee’s waterfront development, and will act as a magnet for the city’s regeneration, attracting inward investment and tourism, not to mention the jobs created during the construction phase and beyond.

“I am proud the Scottish Government has been able to make a significant contribution to this project, as I am convinced it will be a valuable asset in both cultural and economic terms for decades to come.”

Seona Reid, chairwoman of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland Committee, said: “The opening of this important new design museum is a major milestone for Dundee and for Scotland.

“The museum will celebrate the notable contribution Scots and Scotland have made and continue to make to the world of design and will, I am sure, delight, educate and inspire visitors from across the world. Thanks to £14.1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, awarding support from the National Lottery, this striking building will also mark a further new chapter in the economic regeneration of Dundee.”

The temporary exhibitions and permanent galleries of the V&A will be complemented by exciting new commissions and installations, supporting and showcasing emerging design talent.

Turner Prize-nominated artist Ciara Phillips has been commissioned to produce a new work in response to the V&A’s remarkable collections of Scottish design. Drawing on research into textile histories and Scottish ceramic production, this site-specific installation will welcome visitors as they reach the upper floor of the museum, before entering the galleries.

The Michelin Design Gallery will showcase contemporary design talent, starting with an exhibition of V&A Dundee’s pre-opening national project, the Scottish Design Relay, presenting design prototypes created by young people in communities across Scotland from Orkney to Govan.

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