This led to the transfer to the museum of the School of Design that had been founded in 1837 at Somerset House; after the transfer it was referred to as the Art School or Art Training School, later to become the Royal College of Art which finally achieved full independence in 1949.
From the 1860s to the 1880s the scientific collections had been moved from the main museum site to various improvised galleries to the west of Exhibition Road.
The V&A is in discussion with the University of Dundee, University of Abertay, Dundee City Council and the Scottish Government with a view to opening a new £43 million gallery in Dundee that would use the V&A brand although it would be funded through and operated independently.
The V&A is one of 17 museums across Europe and the Mediterranean participating in a project called Discover Islamic Art.
Overall, it is one of the largest museums in the world.
Since 2001, the museum has embarked on a major £150m renovation programme, which has seen a major overhaul of the departments, including the introduction of newer galleries, gardens, shops and visitor facilities.
The departments of Asia include art from South Asia, China, Japan, Korea and the Islamic world.
Like other national British museums, entrance to the museum has been free since 2001. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.
This was organised by the Council of Industrial Design established by the British government in 1944 "to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry".
The success of this exhibition led to the planning of the Festival of Britain (1951).
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.