Calling all Barbie fans and pop culture vultures! Exclusive access to the ultimate Barbie exhibition awaits

Calling all Barbie fans and pop culture vultures! Exclusive access to the ultimate Barbie exhibition awaits

Following on from Greta Gerwig’s smash hit Barbie movie, our interest in the world’s most famous doll shows no sign of waning. Coinciding with this year’s 65th anniversary of the Barbie brand, a major show opens in July to explore the story of Barbie through a design lens, including fashion, architecture, furniture and vehicle design.  

The Design Museum has been granted special access by Mattel Inc. to the extensive Barbie archives in California, and dozens of rare and unique items will go on show alongside other key loans and acquisitions to tell the story of the iconic brand from a design perspective.

Various Barbies through the ages
Barbie through the ages. Left to Right: 1985 Day to Night Barbie, 2016 Barbie Fashionista Blue Brocade, 1973 Barbie Doctor, 2016 Barbie Fashionista Sweetheart Stripes. All images ©Mattel, Inc.

Join us at the Barbie®: The Exhibition media preview – before it opens to the public

We have 5 tickets available exclusively for Film and Furniture Backstage members to accompany us to the media preview of the Barbie exhibition on the morning of Wednesday 3 July 2024 – usually a privilege of high profile press only.

Become a Backstage Member now to be invited (limited places on a first come, first served basis).

Backstage members will also be invited to all forthcoming major exhibitions at the Design Museum throughout 2024 including and The World of Tim Burton.


Win a pair of free tickets to the exhibition

In addition, we will be running a competition for Backstage and Front Row members to win one of five pairs of tickets to visit the Barbie exhibition anytime during it’s opening from 5 July 2024 to 23 February 2025. 

Become a Backstage or Front Row member to enter ticket giveaways

The Design Museum’s exhibition will include the Barbie Dreamhouse, seen here in its 1962 iteration, as featured in the book, ‘Barbie Dreamhouse: An Architectural Survey’ (Image credit: Evelyn Pustka for Pin-Up)

What to expect at the Barbie exhibition

This will be a major exhibition exploring the design evolution of one of the world’s most famous dolls: Barbie®. Journey into the Barbie universe and discover over 250 remarkable objects, with rare, unique and innovative dolls dating from 1959 to the present day.

Highlights include a rare first edition of the very first doll released by Mattel in 1959 (‘Number 1 Barbie’), the groundbreaking Day to Night Barbie from 1985 and the best-selling Barbie of all time, 1992’s Totally Hair Barbie which sold over 10 million across the globe.

Other dolls will highlight the diversity of the Barbie range, with examples of the first Black, Hispanic and Asian dolls to bear the Barbie name, as well as dolls that reflect today’s diverse, multicultural society, including the first Barbie with Down syndrome, the first to use a wheelchair, and the first to be designed with a curvy body shape.

We’ll also get a chance to meet friends of Barbie, including her first friend, Midge, and the much-loved Christie and Teresa; as well as the younger sister of Barbie, Skipper. There’ll be a section dedicated to Ken too, which will see six decades’ worth of Ken dolls on show, showing his evolution from his introduction in 1961.

1961 Austin Healy
1961 Austin Healy

Other objects from this historic brand will include Dreamhouses, vehicles and furniture. 

A rare example of the first ever Barbie Dreamhouse — released in 1962, made from cardboard and sporting the distinctly modernist design of its era — will be among the Barbie homes on show.

Visitors will also be able to see examples of Barbie’s vehicles, such as her first car (also from 1962) and her first campervan (from 1971), alongside a whole range of other ‘locations’ — from ski cabins to space stations.

Together these items will show how Barbie and her accompanying accessories have always reflected the tastes and trends of the day, and how they have engaged with modern design in an aspirational but accessible way. Exhibition goers will also be able to see the influence of major designers and architects — from Florence Knoll to Frank Gehry — on the Barbie universe, as well as the significance of various mainstream trends and big retailers.

barbie house looking to outside
Barbie’s dreamhouse in the Barbie movie

In summary:


Barbie®: The Exhibition will open at the Design Museum on 05 July 2024. General Tickets are now on sale.

Free Media preview for Backstage members: Wednesday 3 July 2024 
08:30 — 09:30 Breakfast opening reception | Speeches at 09:00
09:30 — 13:00 Press view of exhibition gallery
(Backstage members will be informed by email)

Barbie®: The Exhibition opening dates:   
5 July 2024 to 23 February 2025.
(Backstage and Front Row Members will be informed by email when the competition to win free ticket opens)

The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG

Love events and exhibitions?

If you choose to become a Film and Furniture Backstage member not only will you receive invites to Design Museum previews, you will also receive discounts on the Design Museum membership, plus FREE tickets to the Vitra Design Museum exhibitions. JOIN IN >

This feature is FREE to Classic members.

To access in-depth features, video interviews, tickets to F&F events, giveaway draws, invitations to pre-release film screenings, major exhibitions and more, become a Front Row or Backstage member today!

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