10:00 AM - 05:00 PM, every day through Jan 22, 2023.
On August 28, 2021, the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park will open St. Louis Sound, a new 6,000 square feet special exhibit that explores the history of popular music in St. Louis from the dawn of recorded sound in the late 1800s to the turn of the 21st century.
Nearly 200 artifacts will be on display from national stars, local legends, and important venues.
Artifacts on display are from the Missouri Historical Society Collections as well as over 100 objects on loan to the Missouri History Museum from individuals and other institutions.
Artifacts on display include:
The St. Louis tinfoil, recorded by Thomas Edison in 1878, the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the earliest known recording of a musical performance. In March 2021, the Library of Congress announced the “St. Louis tinfoil” is one of 25 “audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time” that will be inducted into their National Recording Registry.
Costumes from Treemonisha, ragtime legend Scott Joplin’s ill-fated opera
A dress and original theatre artifact of entertainer, French resistance agent, and civil rights activist Josephine Baker
Dress worn by Tina Turner on the Tonight Show
Artifacts from the Club Imperial, which hosted Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm and televised dance shows.
Guitars belonging to Chuck Berry, Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, Albert King, and Mel Bay (who has taught millions to play the guitar)
Trumpets of Miles Davis and Clark Terry
Stage clothing of legendary artists like Little Milton, Luther Ingram, and the 5th Dimension
The piano of Henry Townsend, the St. Louis Blues Legend whose recordings span nine consecutive decades
Outfits from gospel stars David Peaston and Willie Mae Ford Smith
Fontella Bass’s gold record and Grammy nomination for “Rescue Me”
Artifacts from Mississippi Nights, including the stage floor that was played on by everyone from Kenny G to Nirvana
Stage clothing of The Welders, St. Louis’s 1970s all-female punk band
Artifacts from Bob Heil, who built sound systems for The Who and invented the Talkbox
A drum that symbolizes the racial divide in St. Louis’s 1920s jazz scene
Pieces from Gaslight Square, St. Louis’s nightlife center of the 1960s
In addition to incredible artifacts, St. Louis Sound will feature interactive maps of St. Louis musical hotspots, listenable song selections for every artist covered, archival film footage, and a trivia game for visitors to test their music history knowledge.
The Missouri History Museum will offer a wide range of exhibit-related programming throughout the duration of the exhibit, including the St. Louis Sound: LIVE series of free, live performances relating to the many artists featured in the exhibit.
St. Louis just can’t stay quiet. No matter the genre, style, or musical moment, this city has a huge story to tell.
St. Louis Sound is open at the Missouri History Museum from August 28, 2021, through January 22, 2023. Admission is free.