V&A Dundee Is Latest UK Museum to Strip the Sackler Name from its Walls

V&A Dundee, the Scottish branch of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, has stripped the Sackler name from its galleries, but will not be returning the £500,000 (roughly $627,000) it was gifted from the Sackler Trust before opening in 2018.

With this, V&A Dundee becomes the latest in a long line of storied cultural institutions worldwide to distance itself from Sackler family. According to the BBC, Signage acknowledging the donation was removed from view last month, while a separate plaque in the museum’s Oak Room was taken down in September 2022.

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A spokesperson for the V&A Dundee told the BBC: “V&A Dundee, like other organizations who have removed crediting, is not in talks to return the historic capital support received for the creation of the museum, which were made before V&A Dundee opened in 2018.” 

Members of the Sackler family were among the world’s most active museum benefactors. They funded new wings and galleries, as well as endowed directorships and curatorships, at institutions worldwide. But in recent years, members of the family have faced scrutiny over their role in exacerbating America’s opioid epidemic through the aggressive marketing of the highly addictive painkiller Oxycontin, produced by Purdue Pharma.

The pharmaceutical company was long operated by members of the Sackler family, several of whom have been individually sued over their involvement in the health crisis. In 2021, Purdue Pharma was formally dissolved. The family denied wrongdoing but was made to pay out billions of dollars to settle various legal claims.

Facing demands from artists and activists to sever their ties to the disgraced family, several major institutions, including the Tate group, flagship Victoria & Albert Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Tate, announced that they would no longer be accepting money from the Sackler Trust.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art severed ties to the family’s money in 2019, and in December 2021, began removing the Sackler name from seven galleries, including the wing which houses the Temple of Dendur. 

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