A Barbie exhibition is coming to the Design Museum next year

The 65th anniversary of Barbie will be celebrated in a new exhibition coming to the Design Museum next year.

Following the success of Greta Gerwig’s record-breaking Barbie movie this summer, the world’s most famous toy will be arriving in London in 2024 for a special exhibition.

Through a partnership with toy company Mattel, the museum has been granted special access to the extensive Barbie archives in California.

A host of rare and unique items will go on display alongside other key pieces on loan and acquired to tell the story of the brand.

The exhibition has been three years in the making and will open on 5 July 2024. It will run until February 2025, with tickets going on sale in the spring.

The show, curated by the Design Museum’s Danielle Thom, will map Barbie’s legacy beginning in 1959 with creator Ruth Handler. It will go on to explore the story of Barbie through a design lens, including fashion, architecture, furniture and vehicle design.

The Museum’s CEO Tim Marlow said: “Barbie is one of the most recognisable brands on the planet and as we’ve seen recently, her story evolves with each new generation. I am delighted that we can announce that we’re planning to mark Barbie’s 65th birthday with a major exhibition.”

A 1962 Barbie Dream House (Mattel)
A 1962 Barbie Dream House (Mattel)

Thanking Mattel for access to their “extensive archive”, he continued: “We look forward next year to displaying a whole range of eye-catching objects, some familiar but many never seen before, to showcase the evolution of design across the decades of Barbie’s world.”

The news comes after a summer of Barbie-mania, following the release of Gerwig’s critically acclaimed movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

On Sunday (1 October), it was revealed that Stevie Nicks is the latest star to be given the Barbie treatment with her own collectors’ doll.

The Fleetwood Mac singer’s doll depicts Nicks in her trademark Seventies style, donning a flowing black dress and tambourine in hand.

Speaking around its launch, Nicks revealed that she sent the original dress and boots worn on the cover of 1977 album Rumours to Mattel who strived to faithfully recreate the iconic look.

“When Mattel first sent her to me, I told them her eyebrows are a little too arched and my eye makeup, if you go back to the Seventies, it was very Twiggy with lots of eyelashes and that doe-eyed look,” she said.

“So I said you need to raise that dark eyeshadow above the fold in her eye and that will fix it. And I said we need to see a little bit of teeth.

“And then when I got her on 22 June, I opened her up and I went, ‘She’s just perfect.’ This little Barbie is so precious and they helped her have my soul. If nobody else in the world got her but me, I’d almost be OK with that.”