David Bowie Museum to Showcase 80,000 'Unique' Items: 'He Didn't Just Make Art, He Was Art!'

A museum and performing arts center scheduled to open in 2025 will detail David Bowie's trajectory as a musical innovator, cultural icon, and advocate for self-expression and reinvention

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David Bowie. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita/Sukita and The David Bowie Archive

David Bowie will live on through The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts.

Set to open in 2025 in London, the museum will include more than 80,000 items detailing his trajectory as a musical innovator, cultural icon, and advocate for self-expression and reinvention beginning with his early career in the 1960s and closing with his death at 69 in 2016.

"He didn't just make art, he was art!" Nile Rodgers, who produced his 1983 hit "Let's Dance," said in a release.

Inside the exhibition at the V&A (Victoria & Albert) East Storehouse in Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Bowie fans will find instruments, notebooks, set designs, album artwork, letters, sheet music and original costumes including the music legend's 1972 Ziggy Stardust ensembles designed by Freddie Burretti.

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David Bowie. John Robert Rowlands/John Robert Rowlands and The David Bowie Archive

Kansai Yamamoto's flamboyant creations for his 1973 Aladdin Sane tour and the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the 1997 Earthling album cover, will also be displayed — as will a photo collage of movie stills from the 1975-1976 production of The Man Who Fell to Earth, and more than 70,000 other photographs.

Elsewhere fans will discover handwritten lyrics for songs including 1975's "Fame," 1977's "Heroes," and 1980's "Ashes to Ashes," and samples of the "cut up" method of writing introduced to Bowie by Naked Lunch writer William Burroughs.

"The continuing regenerative nature of his spirit grows ever further in popular resonance and cultural reach down through younger generations," Bowie's collaborator and friend Tilda Swinton said in a release.

"In acquiring his archive for posterity, the V&A will now be able to offer access to David Bowie's history – and the portal it represents – not only to practicing artists from all fields, but to every last one of us, and for the foreseeable future."

david bowie
Masayoshi Sukita/Sukita and The David Bowie Archive

The news of the museum follows the V&A's 2013 exhibition, David Bowie Is…, which was the first time a museum had access to the David Bowie Archive. More than two million people saw the exhibition as part of a world tour, making it one of the V&A's most popular exhibitions ever.

The new museum was formed with funding from the David Bowie Estate and a $12 million donation from Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group. Along with supporting the creation of the museum and access to the archive, this will also fund the conservation, research, and study of the archive.

In October, Bowie's wife Iman spoke about her late husband in an interview with Hoda Kotb for SiriusXM Today Show Radio.

When asked how often she thinks of Bowie now, Iman, 67, replied, "every day and every minute."

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Iman and David Bowie at Hammerstein Ballroom during Keep A Child Alive's 6th Annual Black Ball hosted by Alicia Keys and Padma Lakshmi on October 15, 2009 in New York City.
Iman and David Bowie. Kevin Mazur/WireImage

"I have a necklace I'm wearing under here that has his name on it, [a] designer who is a friend of ours called Hedi Slimane sent me this and I've worn it since that first week after David passed away," she said. "Yeah, I think of him all the time."

She continued, "People said your 'late husband,' I said — don't call my husband 'late,' he's not my late husband he is my husband and he'll always be."

Bowie died of cancer on Jan. 10, 2016, at the age of 69. Iman and Bowie married in Florence, Italy on June 6, 1992, and share their now 22-year-old daughter Alexandria "Lexi" Jones.

Reflecting on her marriage during the chat, Iman explained, "I think if you're lucky, you'll experience something like that, you know what I mean? It's luck and I was lucky."

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