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Questioning the collection (Kate Mason)

March 5, 2017

Gallery Assistant Tie

The gallery assistant uniform is provided to the employees free of charge which keeps a consistent house style for all gallery assistants. Its something that, according to a gallery assistant, helps visitors with recognising a gallery assistant from a visitor or other member of the population within the Victoria and Albert museum. However it is also a first impression of the museum’s company as a whole as it is one of the first presentations of the museum as you walk through the entrance. The uniform itself consists of the following:

  • White shirt
  • Strong coloured red cravat/tie
  • black V neck jumper
  • Thermal jacket (fleece and presumed Nylon)
  • Black trousers/skirt (knee length)
  • own shoes
  • very little restriction for jewellery

The red tie or cravat is very eye catching and not only that but the material for the tie is also slightly reflective making it even more notable so for the purpose of recognition this is quite a good colour to use, however if this was the only purpose then surely they could instead just wear fluorescent jackets instead of using expensive materials and clothing. This shows that there is a high company value for a professional and somewhat high-class aesthetic/house style, this being deemed appropriate considering the prices for objects in the shop.

However the museum itself is free for anyone to visit and explore which means that the visitors are often actually quite diverse with people of all financial backgrounds at least being able to visit. The red used is also a very royal colour and a colour of class, as seen in a lot of royal furniture such as rugs, crowns, and chair cushions, so once again this shows a high value for the high class aesthetic.This being said, Red is also quite an aggressive colour, car insurance prices for example, are higher for people who own red cars due to the colour making the driver “angrier” and therefore more likely to have accidents on the road.

I found this interesting as for a place with such a high value for high class aesthetic, you would think that they would avoid any chances of promoting any kind of violent culture within the museum. Potentially the tie being red might insinuate an authoritative stance for the gallery assistant, in nature strong colours such as this symbolise danger, potentially this could mean that the red is to set the gallery assistants in an authoritative position so people are less likely to act out in aggressive or destructive ways. The high visibility of the tie and the occurrence of at least one gallery assistant per gallery would certainly make that seem more likely as it promotes the idea and feeling of always being watched within the museum which would enforce an authority over people without a red tie and uniform.


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