Design exhibitions and museums: reopening dates

As galleries and museums begin to reopen during the easing of lockdown, we’ve made a list of the best design picks across the UK.

Design Museum

Re-opening date: 31 July 2020, Monday – Sunday, 10:00 – 21:00

London’s Design Museum re-opens with its latest temporary exhibition, Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers. (You can read our feature about its updated exhibition design here.) The exhibition was built before lockdown, and has subsequently been adjusted for social distancing. This is a phased re-opening, and the exhibition – which requires pre-paid tickets – will be the only one to open. However, there will be temporary displays such as Fountain of Hygiene, where you can see the winners of a hand sanitising competition, launched by Bompass & Parr. A Margaret Calvert retrospective opens in October.

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Open now, Thursday-Sunday, 10:30 – 5:15

The East Sussex museum dedicated to artists and craft workers is open and functioning at 30% capacity. The current temporary exhibition is a retrospective of Birmingham-born John Newling’s work, which uses natural material to react to world events – such as the climate emergency or a global pandemic. Advanced booking is obligatory. More details are available on the website.

Core, by 1024 Architecture at the Paris edition of Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers


Re-opening date: 6 August 2020, Thursday – Sunday

The London museum dedicated to art and design will have a phased re-opening in August, opening four days of the week. The entire ground floor will be open, as well as select galleries on the lower ground floor. On 27 August, the first and second floor collections will also open. Alongside this, the museum’s temporary exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk (which closed two weeks into its run) will reopen for an extended run into October. The museum is working with local authorities to try to improve provision for cyclists.

V&A Dundee

Re-opening date: 27 August 2020, Thursday – Monday

V&A Dundee will reopen in late August with its first major fashion exhibition, Mary Quant, a transfer from the London museum. It runs through to the middle of January 2021. In March, the museum will host Night Fever: Designing Club Culture. The museum just announced a new director in Leonie Bell, who says that there will be an “exploration of how designers responded to the pandemic, underlining the importance of design to everyone’s lives”.

Other things to catch:

Portrait of Beardsley by Frederick Evans
  • Catch the retrospective of Art Nouveau’s controversial illustrator Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain when the gallery reopens 27 July. It’s been extended to late September 2020.
  • Driverless: Who is in control? explores the impact of autonomous technology on our lives at the Science Museum in London, which reopens 19 August. The exhibition has been extended to January 2021.

If you know or are involved with a design-related exhibition that is opening in the coming period, let us know.

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