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The Smithsonian plans to open its first international exhibition space at a new cultural complex being developed at the former Olympic park in London, officials announced Tuesday.

The deal would mark the first time in the institution’s 168-year history that it would have a public presence outside the United States. It also would make the Smithsonian part of an elite group of museums — including the Guggenheim in New York and the Louvre in Paris — that have opened venues in other parts of the world.

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The Victoria and Albert Museum is planning a new branch in London’s former Olympic Park—and it’s going to be huge. According to a brief from London Mayor Boris Johnson, quoted in the British press, the so-called V&A East will spread over 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet), half of which will be dedicated to exhibition space.

This dwarfs Tate Modern’s 7,900 square meters of display space and further demonstrates that the trend for ever-bigger museums shows no signs of abating (see “Does Britain Need a New Tate Modern?“). But Tate Modern won’t ever really languish in second place. When its new building opens in 2016, exhibition space will increase by 70 percent to reach 13,500 square meters.

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