Smithsonian Institute set for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park base

Boris Johnson outlined his Olympicopolis plans at the V&A's Sackler lecture. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/G

Boris Johnson outlined his Olympicopolis plans at the V&A's Sackler lecture. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

The world’s largest museum and research complex is set to open its first ever permanent exhibition outside America in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The Smithsonian Institute will hold formal talks with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) over plans to build a new 40,000 sq ft gallery featuring permanent and rotating exhibits, programs and activities.

If negotiations are successful, the 4.5 acre Smithsonian site would take up residence alongside the Victoria and Albert Museum, University of the Arts London and Sadler’s Wells on the 76,000sqm scheme on Stratford Waterfront.

University College London will also create a new university campus on the Park to the south of the ArcelorMittal Orbit as part of the ‘Olympicopolis’ development.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, said: “It is a huge honour for London to be considered as the first location for the Smithsonian outside of the U.S.


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“Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is set to be home to a dynamic new world-class cultural quarter.

“We believe it is the perfect location for the Smithsonian, a unique and pioneering institution founded on the philanthropy of British-born James Smithson, in a move that would strengthen further still the links between our great nations.”

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The Mayor and the LLDC have already secured an initial $50million to construct the facility, but annual operating costs would be covered by private donations and revenue from temporary-exhibit fees.

The Olympicopolis scheme is expected to deliver 3,000 jobs, 1.5 million additional visitors and £2.8 billion of economic value to Stratford and the surrounding area.

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