A David Bowie museum exhibit will display 80,000 pieces — including ones that ‘have never been seen in public before’
The legendary musician’s innovative style and creative methods will be on display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum
For the first time, more than 80,000 David Bowie items will be on display: iconic costumes, handwritten lyrics, letters, set designs and instruments are among the relics that will be presented for public show at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
“We are thrilled to announce that the exceptional archive of legend @DavidBowieReal is coming to the V&A!”, the museum shared on Twitter, along with a video highlighting Bowie’s life. “Spanning 80,000 items across his 60 year career, you can explore Bowie’s life’s work in ways never possible before.”
We are thrilled to announce that the exceptional archive of legend @DavidBowieReal is coming to the V&A! Spanning 80,000 items across his 60 year career, you can explore Bowie’s life’s work in ways never possible before at @vam_east Storehouse from 2025 #DavidBowieArchive pic.twitter.com/sTGtJnydKB— V&A (@V_and_A) February 23, 2023
What will be in the David Bowie museum exhibit?
The exhibition will feature Bowie’s creative process, his trajectory as an innovative musician and his impact as a cultural icon. It is scheduled to go public in 2025 at The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts at the V&A East Storehouse in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, according to a statement from the museum.
“David Bowie was one of the greatest musicians and performers of all time,” said Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. “Bowie’s radical innovations across music, theatre, film, fashion, and style — from Berlin to Tokyo to London — continue to influence design and visual culture and inspire creatives from Janelle Monáe to Lady Gaga to Tilda Swinton and Raf Simons.”
Display highlights include stage costumes such as Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust ensembles designed by Freddie Burretti, the eccentric creations from Kansai Yamamoto for Bowie’s Aladdin Sane tour and the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen featured on Bowie’s “Earthling” album cover, per the museum.
Fans will also get to see handwritten lyrics for songs such as “Fame” and “Heroes,” as well as intimate notebooks from every phase of the singer’s career and thousands of photographs and prints — most of which “have never been seen in public before.”
The museum will also feature examples of Bowie’s “cut up” songwriting process — a writing method in which he would slice up potential lyrics and rearrange them to find new meaning.
In 2013, the Victoria and Albert Museum featured a less-expansive Bowie collection called “David Bowie Is...” According to the museum, it was seen by over 2 million people and is one of the museum’s most popular exhibits of all time.
Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, a friend and collaborator of Bowie’s, shared her thoughts on the museum.
“In 2013, the V&A’s David Bowie Is… exhibition gave us unquestionable evidence that Bowie is a spectacular example of an artist, who not only made unique and phenomenal work, but who has an influence and inspiration far beyond that work itself. Ten years later, the continuing regenerative nature of his spirit grows ever further in popular resonance and cultural reach down through younger generations,” Swinton wrote in the press release. “This is a truly great piece of news, which deserves the sincerest gratitude and congratulations to all those involved who have made it possible.”