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The museum also runs the Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green and used to run the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden and Apsley House.

The Theatre Museum is now closed and the V&A Theatre Collections are now displayed within the South Kensington building.

The V&A is one of 17 museums across Europe and the Mediterranean participating in a project called Discover Islamic Art.

In the 1980s, Sir Roy Strong renamed the museum as "The Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Art and Design".

Strong's successor Elizabeth Esteve-Coll oversaw a turbulent period for the institution in which the museum's curatorial departments were re-structured, leading to public criticism from some staff.

The holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world.

The museum owns the world's largest collection of post-classical sculpture, with the holdings of Italian Renaissance items being the largest outside Italy.

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