Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

David Bowie archive to open to public in 2025

From hand-written lyrics and letters to sheet music, original costumes, photography and album artwork, Victoria and Albert Museum in London will feature more than 80,000 items of Bowie memorabilia

Published: Feb 24, 2023 03:00:34 PM IST
Updated: Feb 24, 2023 03:09:10 PM IST

David Bowie archive to open to public in 2025A collection of David Bowie archive will be housed at the Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts, a new outpost of London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Image: Jack Guez / AFP©

A six-decade archive charting pop icon David Bowie's career will open in London in 2025, providing a "new source book for the Bowies of tomorrow", a museum director said Wednesday.

Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum Tristram Hunt said the "incredible" collection had more than 80,000 items of Bowie memorabilia.

They range from hand-written lyrics and letters to sheet music, original costumes, photography and album artwork.

A number of instruments owned by Bowie as well as music videos, set designs and awards are also due to go on display.

Bowie, originally from south London, died in 2016 at the age of 69.

The collection will be housed at the Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts, a new outpost of London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

The museum was delighted to be become "custodians of his incredible archive, and to be able to open it up for the public", said Hunt.

"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 Monae to Lady Gaga to Tilda Swinton and Raf Simons," he added.

Bowie enjoyed an extraordinary career generating around 140 million record sales and taking in styles from glam rock to jazz, as well as stage personas such as Ziggy Stardust.

Also read: Ziggy Stardust: 50 Years Of David Bowie's Alien Revolution

The new centre will be located at the V&A East Storehouse venue at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

The museum said this had been made possible through a £10 million (around $12 million) joint donation by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group.

Bowie's estate sold the publishing rights to his "entire body of work" to Warner last year.

The centre meant his life's work was now taking its "rightful place amongst many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses", said a spokesperson from the David Bowie Estate.

The behind-the-scenes access the new venue offers "will mean David's work can be shared with the public in ways that haven't been possible before".