Music News from ABC

David Bowie’s estate gifts his entire 80,000-object archive to London’s V&A museum

Michael Putland/Getty Images

If you’re a David Bowie fan, start making plans now to visit London in 2025. The city’s Victoria and Albert museum has acquired the late rocker’s entire archive, in the largest donation of its kind in the museum’s history, reports The Telegraph.  Comprising 80,000 objects, the archive is so vast that it’ll take two years to catalog.

Among the items given to the museum from Bowie’s estate include his most famous stage outfits — including his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane ensembles — as well as  handwritten lyrics to songs like “‘Heroes'” and “Ashes to Ashes,” and notebooks filled with ideas for projects that were never realized, such as his fabled musical adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was nixed by Orwell’s widow.

In addition, there are some 70,000 photos, as well as letters, sheet music, awards, album artwork, set designs and instruments, like the synthesizer used by Brian Eno on such Bowie albums as Low, “Heroes” and Lodger, and the Stylophone that was gifted to Bowie by Marc Bolan and used in the recording of “Space Oddity.”

The archive will be housed in the V&A’s new site at East London’s Olympic Park, in The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts, set to open in 2025.

The Telegraph quotes a spokesman for the estate as saying, “With David’s life’s work becoming a part of the U.K.’s national collections, he takes his rightful place amongst many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses. We’re so pleased to be working closely with the V&A to continue to commemorate David’s enduring cultural influence.”


Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App