David Bowie’s archive of more than 80,000 items will be available for public viewing after being acquired by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.
From his early career in the 1960s to his passing in 2016, the archive follows Bowie’s creative processes as a musical innovator, cultural icon, and supporter of self-expression and reinvention.
The archive includes handwritten lyrics, letters, sheet music, original costumes, fashion, photography, cinema, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s instruments, album artwork, and accolades. It also includes private writings, thoughts, and unfinished projects.
“With David’s life’s work becoming part of the UK’s national collections, he takes his rightful place amongst many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses.” A spokesperson from the David Bowie Estate said, “David’s work can be shared with the public in ways that haven’t been possible before, and we’re so pleased to be working closely with the V&A to continue to commemorate David’s enduring cultural influence.”
“David Bowie was one of the greatest musicians and performers of all time…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,” said Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A. “My deepest thanks go to the David Bowie Estate, Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group for helping make this a reality and for providing a new sourcebook for the Bowies of tomorrow.”
The collection will be available from 2025 at The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts at the V&A East Storehouse, which is currently under construction in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.