The Missouri Humanities Council will host the state’s exclusive tour of the Smithsonian exhibition New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music in 2009. Through a selection of photographs, recordings, instruments, lyrics and artist profiles, New Harmonies explores the distinct cultural identities of gospel, country, blues and other forms of roots music as they record the history of the American people and set the foundation for many musical genres appreciated world wide today. The main beat of the exhibition is the on-going cultural process that has made America the birthplace of more music than any place on earth. The exhibition provides a fascinating, inspiring, and toe-tapping listen to the American story of multi-cultural exchange through historic images, instruments and artifacts, and audio components. The story is full of surprises about familiar songs, histories of instruments, the roles of religion and technology in music, and the continuity of musical roots from the earliest spirituals to the latest hip hop CD. This exhibition will travel to six rural Missouri communities throughout 2009.
Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972), "The Queen of Gospel Music"
Photo by Les Leverett
MHC will begin accepting applications from rural (non-metropolitan) communities interested in hosting New Harmonies in September of 2007. Sites will be selected in December, and planning activities will begin in the spring of 2008. New Harmonies requires at least 900 square feet of space with a minimum 8-foot ceiling for the exhibit and complementary displays. If your small-town museum, library or other community organization is interested in hosting New Harmonies in 2009, please contact Patricia Zahn at 1.800.357.0909 or email@example.com for more information about the application process.
Native American Flute Player, about 1908
Library of Congress
More information about New Harmonies is available on the Smithsonian Website at http://www.museumonmainstreet.org/newharmonies/index.htm It includes a recommended reading list of books related to the exhibition as well as tools for teachers to create lessons on the theme. New Harmonies is the sixth exhibition in an ongoing partnership between state humanities councils and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) known as Museum on Main Street.