Beatles magic fills Henry Ford exhibit
Greg Tasker, The Detroit News
April 28, 2016
The “Double Fantasy” album John Lennon signed for Mark Chapman hours before Chapman killed him is part of the exhibit.
(Photo: Exhibits Development Group)
It’s been nearly 50 years since The Beatles disbanded, but an exhibit opening Saturday at The Henry Ford brings the magic of the Fab Four back to life with music, memorabilia and more.
“The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition” chronicles the rise of John, Paul, George and Ringo from humble beginnings in Liverpool, England, to phenomenal success in the United States and around the globe and their subsequent solo careers.
“The Beatles and their story continue to change and inspire our world today,” says John Neilson, senior director of museum and attractions at The Henry Ford. “The Magical History Tour fosters historical, cultural, artistic and musical learning for all ages in an engaging and interactive atmosphere.”
The “Magical Mystery Tour” is the most exhaustive Beatles exhibition ever assembled, Neilson says, describing it as “an immersive and educational retrospective driven by the music and culture they produced.” The memorabilia includes concert posters, instruments, letters, clothing and rare photographs. The exhibit premiered at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, British Columbia, in August, and continues to Chicago, Davenport, Iowa, and St. Paul, Minnesota, after its Dearborn run.
The fun begins as soon as you walk through a wall-size Ringo-esque drum into the exhibit, divided into four sections.
The first, Beginnings, Influences and Life in Liverpool, explores the early years. You can see the original drum set from the Quarry Men, the band that preceded the Beatles, formed by John Lennon in 1956. You can hear excerpts of music that inspired each of them — for Paul McCartney, the selections include “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry. There’s also a reproduction of the small stage at the Cavern Club, where The Beatles performed regularly in the early 1960s.
“My favorite part of the show is the creation of the environments of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, with wonderful musical instruments, where members of The Beatles first performed,” Neilson says. “From 1961 to 1963, The Beatles made nearly 300 appearances at the club, with their last occurring in the summer of 1963, just six months before the Beatles’ first trip to the U.S. They really coalesced as a group in this period, and ‘Beatlemania’ was sprouting across England. This was the end of an era for the group. The small club of their early years could no longer satisfy audience demands.”
The journey continues through three other sections: Life on the Road; Innovation in the Studio, and The Decade of the Break-up.
Life on the Road captures the frenzy that erupted when The Beatles arrived in the United States in 1964. The exhibit includes photographs taken by Curt Gunther from the tour, many of them never on public display before. They chronicle the transition from nervous excitement to panicked frenzy. “So this is America. They must be out of their minds,” Ringo Starr quipped at the time. A merry-go-round of audio equipment lets visitors hear excerpts from press interviews.
Innovation in the Studio allows visitors to listen to the music, instruments and sounds The Beatles experimented with, and play some of the instruments. The final section explores their breakup, with the original legal document dissolving The Beatles on display, as well as albums and memorabilia from each their solo careers.
That section includes Lennon’s last autograph, written on the cover of his Double Fantasy album, several hours before he was murdered. Lennon autographed the album for Mark David Chapman, who shot the singer-songwriter outside the Dakota apartment building in New York. An Associated Press bulletin announcing Lennon’s death is also on display.
“The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition” is the latest music-focused exhibit at the Dearborn museum, following “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion Power.” That show, which explored the role women have played in rock ‘n’ roll, was held in 2014.
“We noticed that it was definitely a cross-generational exhibit, and the best exhibit are always the ones where multiple generations can identify and leave inspired by them,” says Melissa Foster, media and film relations manager at The Henry Ford.
Greg Tasker is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.
The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition
Exhibit admission: $5; museum entrance fee is additional
The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood, Dearborn
The world was waiting just for you...
The Magical History Tour
A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition
If you missed it in 1964, here’s a second chance.
at Henry Ford Museum
April 30-September 18, 2016
$5, plus Museum admission.
Presented by: meijer
The Beatles changed pop culture and the world of music forever. Were you an original Beatlemaniac? Or are you simply inspired by their music today? Either way, you’ll have the chance to experience the creativity, love and curiosity of the Fab Four firsthand as The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition makes its U.S. premiere at The Henry Ford. Don’t miss the most comprehensive Beatles exhibition ever assembled, featuring instruments, clothing, rare original photos and many never-before-displayed artifacts!
Follow the Beatles' iconic story from the very beginning, through the throes of Beatlemania, to the years of experimentation and dissention, and finally to their far-reaching inspiration today. This amazing story is told from the perspective of the Beatles, and visitors will experience pivotal points in their lives through this exhibition.
Your experience includes
· Instruments, equipment and other personal belongings, including the original Quarrymen drum kit.
· Letters, memos and pivotal documentation of the Beatles’ career, including the official “break-up letter” typed by John to Paul's lawyer and signed by John, George and Ringo.
· Rare photographs from the Beatles’ touring years, including many that have never before been seen.
· A vast collection of Beatles merchandise and memorabilia, including the album signed by John Lennon to his eventual killer hours before his death.
· Variety named the Beatles the Icons of the 20th Century. Experience why in this immersive, educational and fun exhibit — only at The Henry Ford.
Admission to both Beatles Exhibition
and Henry Ford Museum
Senior (62+) $5.00 $24.00
Adult (13-61) $5.00 $26.00
Youth (5-12) $5.00 $20.75
Children (4 & Under) Free Free
Parking is $6 per vehicle for non-members, free for members.
The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition is developed by Exhibits Development Group in collaboration with PMA Collective. This exhibition is not endorsed by, sponsored by, associated with or otherwise affiliated with the Beatles, Apple Corps Ltd., or any member of the Beatles or their representatives.
The famed "breakup letter" typed by #johnlennon
THE MAGICAL HISTORY TOUR
The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition is a robust artifact and photography exhibition supported by rich environments and interactive experiences. Through an experience of the band’s perspective, the Exhibition will tell the story of the Beatles, from the beginning when the group was formed, through the end when Fab-Four separated and into their solo careers.
The Exhibition consists of four sections: Beginnings, Influences and Life in Liverpool; Life on the Road; Innovation in the Studio; and The Decade of the Break-up.
The world premiere of the Exhibition will open at Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, BC on August 22, 2015. Other hosting venues include: The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan; Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL; Putnam Museum of History & Science, Quad Cities, IA; and Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, MN.
The incredible story of The Beatles does not start and end with just their music. Yes, their iconic sound and recording innovations make them leaders in music history.. However, this exhibition also focuses on the immense impact these four lads had on popular culture.
Through interactive displays, real documents and letters between the Beatles, photographs and key artifacts, their story from humble beginnings, to world wide fame is shown here. Visitors will learn about their importance and influence on the world, and their inspiration to millions.
Exhibits Development Group (“EDG”) and PMA Collective have selected two of the strongest partners in exhibition, theater, opera and institutional design to support the development of The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition. Together with EDG, LUCI Creative and Geoffrey M. Curley + Associates (“GMC+A) will help tell this compelling story of the Beatles and create a hands-on, theatrical and interactive experience.
Exhibition developed by Exhibits Development Group in collaboration with Peter Miniaci & Associates. The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition is not endorsed by, sponsored by, associated with, or otherwise affiliated with The Beatles, Apple Corps Ltd., or any member of The Beatles or their representatives.