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Secrets of the Museum

A unique arts series venturing behind the scenes at the world-famous museum of art, design and performance, the V&A.

About the programme

Inside every museum is a hidden world, and now, cameras have been allowed behind the scenes at the world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Only a small part of the two million wonders in the collection are on display to the public. But in this new series we go behind closed doors to explore all the treasures of art, design and performance the museum has to offer. 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 battle to keep the past alive.

To find out more and for iPlayer links, please visit the BBC website .

Discover the range of qualifications and modules from the OU related to this programme:

A V&A curator working on a small teddy bear BBC Secrets of the museum

Copyright: © Simon Lloyd for Blast! Films

A male and a female curator examining a canvas held by the man. The woman is holding a pen and a clipboard.

Copyright: ID 138369143 © Seventyfourimages |

Interactive: Can you be the curator?

Ever fancied yourself as a connoisseur of art and history?

Put yourself in the shoes of a specialist charged with the V&A's collections. Can you place a range of objects into the correct place in the museum? Take the quiz and find out!

Click here to try this interactive.

A set of museum windows

What's it like being a museum curator?

Expert curators from the V&A, give us the lowdown on what it's like a being a museum curator.


What is the role of a museum curator?

How do you become a museum curator?

Meet the OU experts

Dr Clare Taylor Senior Lecturer in Art History at the Open University
Dr Clare TaylorSenior Lecturer in Art History and Staff TutorVIEW FULL PROFILE
Dr Clare Taylor Senior Lecturer in Art History at the Open University
Dr Clare TaylorSenior Lecturer in Art History and Staff Tutor

I'm a historian of art and design who specialises in the interior and its decoration. 

After a first degree in History at Durham, I studied Art Gallery & Museum Studies at Manchester, and worked as an art curator at galleries including Manchester and Aberdeen where I was responsible for the restoration of a historic house museum and contributed to exhibitions on topics ranging from Scottish watercolours to the growth of public parks in Manchester. As a curator for English Heritage, I was also responsible, with the Royal Collection Trust, for the restoration of the Royal Nurseries at Osborne House.

My research is about how and why consumers decorate their homes, the designers who create goods for the interior and the firms who manufacture them. 

Professor Leon Wainwright
Professor Leon WainwrightHead of Discipline and Reader in Art History - School of Arts & HumanitiesVIEW FULL PROFILE
Professor Leon Wainwright
Professor Leon WainwrightHead of Discipline and Reader in Art History - School of Arts & Humanities

My research trajectory as an art historian of the modern and contemporary periods has developed through long-term commitments to engendering a more inclusive, globally-aware and culturally-diverse approach to the discipline. Crossing over into anthropology and museum studies, with a focus on black Britain, the Caribbean and India.

From 2006 to 2008, I was an advisor to Victoria and Albert Museum London, in the area of African Diaspora Material Culture, a research project within the V&A family of museums, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

My work at the OU has in general built on the HEFCE-supported initiative ‘Globalising Art, Architecture and Design History’ (GLAADH), which championed equality and diversity in the UK universities through curriculum change.

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About our BBC partnership

For over 50 years The Open University and the BBC have worked together; co-producing hundreds of hours of programming and bringing learning to life for millions. Find out more about our unique partnership.

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