The Best Museum Exhibitions Of 2015

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 103 months ago

Last Updated 29 December 2015

The Best Museum Exhibitions Of 2015
One of several spacecraft on display in Cosmonauts. Copyright Science Museum

We've had our top 10 art exhibitions of 2015, but what about the exhibitions that sit outside art? Textiles, science, history and fashion all feature in our list:

1. Cosmonauts at Science Museum
The phrase 'must see' is a cliche, yet it truly applied to this incredible exhibition. With everything from Yuri Gagarin's military uniform to large models of spacecraft, it's a cosmic treat.

2. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at V&A
We've not seen an exhibition this popular since Da Vinci came to the National Gallery. There were queues snaking through the V&A and late night openings to accommodate the demand for the best fashion exhibition we've seen.

3. The Crime Museum uncovered at Museum of London
A grisly and fascinating look at the objects held in the Metropolitan Police's 'Black Museum'. Everything from nail bombs to binoculars that conceal eye spikes are brought to life while sensitively telling the stories behind them.

4. Big Bang Data at Somerset House
We know where your cat lives? And we've created more data in the last two years, than in the rest of the history of civilisation. Two insightful and frankly terrifying facts in this timely exhibition about how data can be used for both good and nefarious ends.

5. Fabrics of India at V&A
There are colourful fabrics on display and the show discusses the political importance of clothing in India's history. The show is superbly put together with a massive tent installed and a thread lined walkway linking the two halves of the show together.

6. Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime at Wellcome Collection
Crime gets a second entry in our top 10 with another grisly dose. A maggot extracted from a murderer and miniature dioramas of  murder scenes are just two of the memorable items on display.

7. Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy at The British Library
On the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, this exhibition cemented the importance of this document, and in particular, looking at how it has inspired the fight for rights across the world.

We travelled down the rabbit hole at The British Library. Copyright Tony Antoniou

8. Alice in Wonderland at British Library
The trippy novel got a free exhibition deserving of its popularity. Surreal illustrations and video games inspired by the novel brought the tale to life.

9. Cycle Revolution at Design Museum
Pure cycle porn is how our reviewer described it to us. Bikes from Olympians through to Bromptons in this survey that will appeal to every cyclists and may even converts some non-cyclists too.

10. Museum of the Mind at Bethlem Hospital
Not an exhibition but an opening of a fantastic new museum out in Beckenham. The trip to zone 5 is worth it for insight into how the 'insane' were treated — it's gritty stuff.

Museum of the Year

A gilded screen from the refurbished Japanese galleries. (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Two exhibitions in our top 10 and a fabulous set of refurbished Japanese and European galleries. The V&A has had a great year in both temporary exhibitions and permanent displays.  

If we've missed out your favourite exhibition or you disagree with our order, let us know in the comments.