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V&A Museum of Childhood to close for £13m renovation

Plus: Six trustees resign from Cooper Hewitt museum | and Arts Council England pushes for greater diversity in arts organisations

18 February 2020

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

V&A Museum of Childhood to close for £13m renovation | The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London, will close in May for a £13m renovation. Displays in the revamped museum will have a greater focus on contemporary design, with more objects from the V&A’s collections on display. Philippa Simpson, the director of Design, Estate and FuturePlan at the V&A, has also stressed that there will still be popular nostalgic objects on view. The museum is scheduled to reopen in 2022 – the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Bethnal Green Museum of Science and Arts, which became the Museum of Childhood in 1974.

Six trustees resign from Cooper Hewitt | Six trustees of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York have stepped down from their roles in protest at the removal of director Caroline Baumann from her post last week. Designer Norman Rockwell and author Kurt Anderson are among the trustees to have departed; after Baumann announced her resignation on 11 February, it was reported that she was forced to leave her post due to allegations of conflict of interest relating to her wedding in 2018.

Arts Council England pushes for greater diversity in arts organisations | Arts organisations and museums in England have been told that they must improve the diversity of their staff and audiences, or risk losing public funding. In its annual report, Arts Council England (ACE) identified that 11 per cent of workers in national portfolio organisations are from BAME backgrounds, and 6 per cent are disabled, against figures of 16 per cent and 21 per cent respectively for the overall workforce. Abid Hussain, director of diversity ACE, has said that organisations will now have to agree ‘stretching’ targets with councils, and risk a loss of public funding if they are not met.

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