Although I typically report on education, arts and culture editor Marcheta Fornoff let me visit the Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour collection at the Arlington Museum of Art exhibit. After all, I’m by far the biggest Taylor Swift fan in the newsroom.

I visited the exhibit to bring it to you through the eyes of someone who grew up a Swiftie starting with her debut album to her latest, “Midnights,” and survived the disaster that was Ticketmaster sales to see her in April perform in Houston.

The first display of the Taylor Swift The Eras Tour Collection at the Arlington Museum of Art. The exhibit opens June 3. (Kristen Barton | Fort Worth Report)

When you first walk in, a giant clock is cut out for the perfect Instagram moment celebrating “Midnights,” with quotes from Swift and others about time painted in the background. It includes a nod to the “All Too Well (10-minute version)” short film — directed by Swift — which starts with the Pablo Neruda quote “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” 

Though other cities have costumes or guitars as part of Swift’s tour, Arlington is the only site with this specific collection, director of exhibitions Kendall Quirk said. And all the albums featured in the collection are owned by Swift, which Quirk said is important because it highlights her songwriting and skills as a businesswoman.

Walking through the exhibit creates the effect Swift wanted when she announced her latest album, “Midnights” — we wander through our past nights in hope of meeting ourselves. There, I met my own past eras. 

The concept of this album is simple, even if her lyricism is anything but: It’s a journey of reflection on our past and how it changes our present. The album’s concept may be why she chose to tour music from all her albums, or “eras” as she and fans call them.

Through the curated collection of original costumes and props from her albums “Midnights,” “folklore,” “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” Swifties like me get to reflect on our own past eras and the ways these albums shaped us.

Ticket prices

Members get in free

Adult (18-54): $20

Senior (55+): $15

Youth (13-17): $15

Child (2-12): $5

Infant (0-2): Free

Group rates and military discounts are available.

The Eras Tour Collection opens June 3 and will be at the museum through Sept. 24 at the Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main St.

I was happy to see the eras featured in the exhibit included my favorite albums. I will forever love “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” is my favorite song. The album helped me, like many other Swifties, process the heartache of my first breakup. But it’s also the reason I became a writer. My biggest dream was to write something that could help someone make sense of the world the way “All Too Well” helped me understand how to move past love lost.

Also in the front room, a key to the city of Arlington gifted to Swift is on display next to a wall filled with facts about each era. I learned things about Swift that I didn’t know, such as I had no idea Swift was the first host to write her own “Saturday Night Live” monologue.

Turning a corner, you will recognize the costumes from the photoshoot for the “Midnights” album, along with pieces of the set, including the couch she lays on in some of the photos. Three costumes and the photos they’re featured in are on display. 

A display of costumes from Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” album at her Eras Tour Collection at the Arlington Museum of Art. The exhibit opens June 3. (Kristen Barton | Fort Worth Report)

When Swift first announced the “Midnights” album in August 2022, I remember texting my best friend (who I later attended the concert in Houston with in April), “this album concept is made for me.” The photos to promote the album showed her struggling through the night, writing, reflecting and certainly not sleeping. Throughout my life, I can pinpoint dozens of nights I stayed up pacing, writing, trying to make sense of the world around me. The entire time, I was listening to Taylor Swift.

Once she released the album, I cried to lyrics like the bridge of “You’re on Your Own Kid.” I screamed every word of the “Midnight Rain” chorus — because somewhere between “Teardrops on My Guitar” to that night in October she released the album, all of me had “changed like midnight rain.” And I felt the raw heartbreak and complexity of the lyrics “give me back my girlhood, it was mine first” in “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.”

On the opposite wall is a “Red (Taylor’s Version)” display, including two costumes from when she toured the album in 2013 — a black and white dress and red pants with a letterman style jacket. The collection has tour photos and updated photos, including a shot from the music video for “I Bet You Think About Me,” featured on the re-recorded album. It also features a photo from when Swift recorded a version of “All Too Well (10-minute version)” at Long Pond Studio with producer Aaron Dessner.

I wasn’t able to afford a lot of concerts growing up, so I didn’t get to see Swift perform live until that show in Houston. As someone who’s been a fan for so long, I appreciated that through this exhibit, I got glimpses into all the concerts I missed.

Around the corner are the “folklore” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” collections. The “folklore” section features several photos of Swift in the woods to match the thematic elements of the album — a time when we were all in isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also features the dress Swift wore in the Disney+ documentary “folklore: the long pond studio sessions” that she recorded with Dessner and producer Jack Antonoff. 

A display of costumes from Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” album at her Eras Tour Collection at the Arlington Museum of Art. The exhibit opens June 3. (Kristen Barton | Fort Worth Report)

The “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” area had the purple, sparkly dress she wore on tour and the high school band costume she wore performing her classic hit “You Belong With Me.”

What makes the collection special to me was the memories it brought up, singing along to the albums on the back roads of the east Texas town I grew up in or dancing to “Blank Space” in my college newspaper office. In the same way the Eras Tour helps us relive those moments of joy, face those moments of sadness, reconcile with those moments of grief and try to make sense of past loves lost, this collection takes us through that journey all over again.

Swift’s lyrics take fans on a journey. Lyrics that seem specific to her own experience with the anxiety of a new relationship like “I wake in the night, I pace like a ghost, the room is on fire, invisible smoke” still relates to fans who have “been the archer” and also “been the prey.”

For people who grew up with Swift’s music, we can reflect on the way her first album taught us to dream of something bigger than our hometowns. The way “Fearless” taught us to fall in love fiercely, no matter how much it can hurt. We found our voices with “Speak Now” — the first album she wrote entirely on her own.

The collection reminds me of the brutal heartbreak that comes when “loving him was Red” and how we’ll always remember it “All Too Well.” It will remind me of the feeling of moving to a big city for the first time and celebrating life with my friends while blasting “1989,” which I learned both me and executive director Quirk did in college.

I remember when I learned how to stand up for myself through listening to the lyrics “they say I did something bad, then why’s it feel so good?” over and over. In unapologetically being myself, I learned that love isn’t “burning red, but it’s golden.”

During the pandemic, Swift helped me make sense of what was happening and find community in obsessing over the lyrical masterpieces that are sister albums, “folklore” and “evermore.” 

And finally, in “Midnights,” I set off to meet myself. I found someone who loved, lost that love, lost that girlhood and who felt the sadness of all those heartbreaks. Swift explored her past trauma in that album, and I explored mine with her. But I also found someone who can “come back stronger than a 90s trend” because “long story short, I survived.”

Kristen Barton is an education reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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