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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 06/09/2023

A special day of free exhibitions, entertainment and family activities are planned for V&A Dundee’s fifth birthday on Saturday 16 September, marking five years since the museum opened in 2018. The birthday event takes place from 10am to 10pm, and is open to all.

The celebrations include free entry to the current exhibition, Tartan, which displays more than 300 tartan objects and garments from across the world. This includes the oldest piece of tartan found in Scotland, known as the Glen Affric tartan. The exhibition has attracted worldwide attention since opening earlier this year.

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Family at the V&A Dundee. Credit VisitScotland / Luigi di Pasquale
Family at the V&A Dundee. Credit VisitScotland / Luigi di Pasquale

Stories from the building

The fifth anniversary is to be commemorated with the opening of a new permanent display, Stories from the Building. This will introduce  visitors to the architecture, design, engineering, and construction stories behind the creation of Scotland’s design museum.

As well as concept sketches, material samples and artefacts from the construction phase, the exhibition will show the original competition model for the building. Interviews with the architects, project managers and engineers will be accompanied by a new animation showing the development of the museum’s design and the complexity of its construction.


V&A Dundee external architecture
V&A Dundee external architecture. Credit: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Fun for all the family

The live music taking place throughout the building will include a unique performance from acclaimed Dundonian musicians Be Charlotte, and Andrew Wasylyk performing together for the first time.

Terra Kin, winner of 2023’s Scottish Act of the Year, Queen of Harps and Kintra, the DJ-violin duo recently selected to play on the Introducing Stage at the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Dundee, will add to the musical line-up, along with pop-up performances from youth dance group, Urban Moves and Dundee City Pipe Band.

Free drop-in family activities will run inside and outside from 11am to 4pm. There will be an opportunity to make your own birthday hat as part of What The Hat! hosted by V&A Dundee’s Young People's Collective.

Tartan Tea Party hosted by Dundee-based dance company Shaper/Caper will include music, props, and costumes and premiere the new film Tea for Two, filmed inside V&A Dundee’s Scottish Design Galleries earlier this year.


Rare opportunities

Special curator-led tours of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room will include rare access to the upper floor of the original 1907-designed tearoom. The tearoom is one of Mackintosh’s most important interiors and the first ever object to have been confirmed for the Scottish Design Galleries.

Free Architecture tours will also run throughout the day.

Tatha Bar & Kitchen have crafted five new dishes to serve on the day including a Desperate Dan inspired "Cow Pie with pastry horns". The foodie celebrations will continue outside onto the plaza where Cheese on Coast and Ooni Pizza Ovens with Pizza Geeks will join Heather Street Food, the much-loved street-food business set up outside V&A Dundee in 2020.

Not familiar with the Tartan exhibition? Watch the exhibition trailer

Find out more

For further information about V&A Dundee’s fifth birthday event on Saturday 16 September, visit the V&A website.

Visit the V&A website

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