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Top ten museum exhibitions in London

Check out our pick of the city's best cultural offerings at the top ten museum exhibitions in London

Natural History Museum
Get your diary at the ready: London's top museums are set to showcase an abundance of cracking museum exhibitions throughout the events calendar. There's always an exciting show to delve into, on subjects as varied as history, fashion, art and the natural world. Check out our guide to free museums in London if you fancy seeing more of the capital's museums.
 
RECOMMENDED: our full guide to exhibitions in London

The best museum exhibitions in London

1

Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design

The late Danish-British engineer Ove Arup was responsible for some of the world’s most iconic buildings. He didn’t design them; he built them. Before his death in 1988, Arup brought his groundbreaking techniques to realise projects from the penguin pool at London Zoo to the Sydney Opera House. The firm he founded is now a multinational empire whose current projects include Crossrail.

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday October 9 2016
2

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds

Despite ancient texts being full of references to them, the Egyptian cities of Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion remained a lost mystery for years. It wasn’t until the 1990s that an archaeological team discovered their remains – not on dry land, but a few miles off the coast, beneath the Mediterranean. This spectacular show is the first time these pieces from the drowned cities have been seen in the UK. 

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Until Sunday November 27 2016
3

Missoni Art Colour

The stripey overhead lighting makes it clear that the Fashion and Textile Museum is under occupation by Missoni, the Italian family firm founded in 1953 and famous for its stripes and zig-zags.  Before you get to the meat of the exhibition, there’s a screening room – think of it as the antipasti – with films showing what it takes to make a Missoni garment. The fleece is dyed and spun into spools of fine yarn before being knitted into patterns. It’s the first of several strangely soothing moments.

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Fashion and Textile Museum , London Bridge Until Sunday September 4 2016
4

Designology

Most Londoners spend more time commuting than they do taking lunch breaks, so it’s no wonder we’re all so obsessed with Transport for London, its systems, its history, its future and the many designs that have become London’s own heraldry. The London Transport Museum celebrates these things all year round, but ‘Designology’ is travel fandom in overdrive. 

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London Transport Museum , Covent Garden Until Sunday April 23 2017
5

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear

The V&A is a victim of its own success. Ever since the Alexander McQueen exhibition ‘Savage Beauty’, with its drama, tragedy and preposterous gorgeousness, the bar for their fashion exhibitions has been set impossibly high. While this is not another ‘Savage Beauty’, it is a thoughtful and interesting show. ‘Undressed’ tells the story of undies from the eighteenth century to more recent times. It reveals the ingenuity of underwear, from the missing bones at the back of crinolines which allowed women to sit, to corsets designed for horseriding – forerunners to the sports bra. 

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday March 12 2017
6

Above and Beyond

What’s this? A video games arcade inside the National Maritime Museum? The large space on the building’s lower level is full of noise and movement. Children spread their arms wide to control the flight of virtual birds. Fingers prod at screens to design drones capable of undertaking space missions. A long queue (too long for me) snakes out of a flight simulator. 

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National Maritime Museum , Greenwich Until Monday August 29 2016
7

Sensational Butterflies

Visitors can come face-to-face with tropical butterflies, including the swallowtail, blue morpho, the moon moth and many others originating from Africa, Southeast Asia and North and South America, and take part in games, activities and challenges that teach more about the sensory world of the fluttering creatures.

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Natural History Museum , Brompton Until Sunday September 11 2016
8

Cycle Revolution

The bicycle is the pinnacle of simple but effective human design. It has evolved from nineteenth-century push-along hobby horses through patently ridiculous penny farthing ‘ordinaries’ to the ubiquitous epitome of functionality it is today. So how do you improve on perfection? And why would you want to? This new exhibition at the Design Museum doesn’t answer those questions, but gives us plenty to think about.  It’s not just a display of cool bikes, although obsessives can get within touching distance of some of the most iconic machines of the last 100 years.

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Design Museum , Bermondsey Until Thursday June 30 2016
9

The Rolling Stones: Exhibitionism

When Time Out interviewed Mick Jagger in advance of the opening of Exhibitionism – a massive touring retrospective of stuff dedicated to the history of The Rolling Stones – he told us: 'What I didn’t want was for it to all be on screens. People live their lives on screens so much that if people don’t see a screen for a second, they think they’re not alive.’  It’s odd then that’s exactly how Exhibitionism has ended up: on many, many screens. 

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Saatchi Gallery , Chelsea Until Sunday September 4 2016
10

Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne’s Watercolours of Rome

I love this show, though maybe not for the reasons the curators expect. In 1780, Francis Towne (1739-1816) took a trip to Rome in search of pictorial scenes. He was an established painter, albeit a provincial one. Rome opened his eyes: he painted it conscientiously and – at times – spiritedly. His compositions grew bolder and more stylised. They stopped looking like the Lake District on an unusually sunny day.

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Until Sunday August 14 2016

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By: Phoebe Trimingham

Comments

7 comments
Surat K
Surat K

Go and See the first exhibition on trans and gender nonconforming people of faith in the UK - now open at Islington Museum for LGBT History Month - stunning portrait photography by Christa Holka!  'After-dark event with audio installation tomorrow Thu 11/02  more info www.twilightpeople,com

Lynn
Lynn

I must be missing something - i only see 9! And i don't see the Bowie at the V&A and that simply MUST be on there!

David
David

And the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition opening on Monday is'nt even mentioned !

ian
ian

yes and what can i do TODAY please!