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Indiana Historical Society taking music fans back in time with ‘You are There 1927: Gennett Studio’ exhibit

Gennett studio exhibit at Indiana Historical Society

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new exhibit at Indiana Historical Society is showing visitors what it was like to be in the “Cradle of Recorded Jazz” and see it brought back to life.

The “You Are There 1927: Gennett Studio” exhibit takes its visitors on a journey through the history of music created in a small Richmond, Ind., studio. That small studio would go on to have a major ripple effect on the music industry.

The exhibit includes artifacts, images and interactives as well as a recreation of the original Gennett Studio featuring live actors. It’s the 21st installment of the museum’s “You Are There” series.

“You can step back in time and go to a particular place and meet people who could’ve been there,” said IHS Director of Museum Theater Daniel Shockley.

The exhibit is also a visual and an interactive experience where visitors can be hands-on and learn about the history and legacy of a studio that shaped the sound of jazz for generations. “Lyrical Legacies” takes musicians from today and traces them all the way back to an artist that recorded at the famous studio. A flat screen graphic shows a virtual web display that connects legendary musicians like Marvin Gaye and Ray Charles who were influenced by artist Louis Armstrong, who recorded in the Gennett Studios back in the 1920s.

Shockley says while exploring this interactive piece of the exhibit, even die-hard music fans might learn something new.

“A lot of this in our research was a surprise to us too,” Shockley said.

IHS President and CEO Jody Blankenship says he wants the Gennett Studios exhibit to make Hoosiers proud of Richmond’s legendary place in music history.

“I want them to come in and walk away thinking about what it means to be a Hoosier and all of our incredible stories that come together to really define this state and its people and this is one of those incredible stories from Richmond, Indiana,” said Blankenship.

“It’s not just the history itself, but the ripple effect that this studio has had on today’s popular culture in music,” he said. “When you think of The Beatles, Eric Clapton, contemporary artists so many of their influences came from this time and this studio.”

You can have access to the exhibit with general admission and it opens to the public Saturday March 12, 2020. Click here for more information.

IHS also addressed concerns visitors may have about the coronavirus and other future special events that may be affected in a statement below:

“We have taken additional precautions by increasing the use of disinfectants on surfaces throughout the building, ordered additional hand sanitizing stations for public areas, encouraged regular hand washing for all employees, and encouraged sick employees to use time off or work from home. Our leadership team continues to monitor updates from the Marion County Public Health Department, State of Indiana Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to aid in our programming decisions.”

There’s also an updated schedule that includes information on postponed special events. Click here for more information.