The Indiana Historical Society brings the jazz age into Indy through its latest exhibit

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indiana Historical Society is getting ready to open its latest exhibit this weekend.

You Are There 1927: Gennett Studio” is designed to let you feel like you’re going back into the jazz era.

The Gennett Recording Studios was a small part of the larger music business of Starr Piano Company, which was based in Richmond, IN.

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The museum says that at the time, the manufacturing of Starr pianos was moved to Richmond, Indiana making the city an important part of jazz history. Artists then were leaving New Orleans for Chicago and the company convinced them to record in Richmond in an effort to streamline businesses.

“Richmond was a happening place at the time. A lot of people were going through it, so it made sense for many of these artists,” said Danny Gonzales, director of exhibition research at the Indiana Historical Society.

Artists like Louis Armstrong who recorded his first record there.

To make this exhibit as real as possible, researchers at the Indiana Historical Society first needed a grand Starr piano. They eventually found a woman in Columbus, Ohio whose Starr piano had been in the family for generations.

“We took a team to Ohio, took apart the piano and brought it back to Indy,” said Gonzales.

The piano is the centerpiece of the exhibit, but Gonzales says the idea of sharing people’s love of music is what excites him the most.

“We’ve got folks like Eric Clapton, The Beatles and we even managed to find through a couple link connections to Taylor Swift and Kanye West. So, it’s really incredible when you start to think about those ripple effects. You may not know the name of Blind Lemon Jefferson or Charley Patton, but the music that you listen to was affected by them,” added Gonzales.

As part of the exhibit, there will be characters from 1927 to interact with including members of the Gennett family and artists.

The Gennett Studio exhibit opens Saturday, March 14 and it’s free with the price of admission.