The Louisiana State Museum has launched a major exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Preservation Hall at the Old U.S. Mint. Co-curated by Preservation Hall and the Museum, Preservation Hall at 50 will tell the story of this New Orleans music landmark from the early 1960s to the present through artifacts, archival and contemporary photographs, film and audio clips, interviews and oral histories. Now open for public viewing, the exhibit will run through November 2012.
Highlights include large color images of today's Preservation Hall musicians by art photographer Shannon Brinkman matched with oral histories recorded by radio documentarian Eve Abrams. Brinkman and Abrams are co-authors of Preservation Hall, published in March by LSU Press.
Adding wider historical context, the Museum will display iconic objects from its collection -- including Louis Armstrong's first cornet -- and instruments played by Preservation Hall jazz greats such as clarinetist George Lewis and bassist Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau.
Also represented are works by two visionary artists associated with Preservation Hall, French Quarter painter Noel Rockmore (1928-1995) and folk artist Sister Gertrude Morgan (1900-1980).
The Preservation Hall exhibition is part of ambitious long-range plans to establish the Old U.S. Mint as a center for live music and music history.