In 1990, curators at the National Museum of American History began a project to develop a traveling exhibition about American music, and in the course of research, curators repeatedly returned to the Mississippi Delta area and Memphis, Tennessee to conduct interviews. A group in Memphis organized to raise the funds to complete the research, to acquire objects and artifacts, and the project ultimately became the Smithsonian-affiliated Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, which opened in 2000 at 191 Beale Street.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of oral and video history interviews conducted by curators at the National Museum of American History with musicians, recording executives, disc jockeys, and others involved with the development of rock'n'soul music. Complete transcripts of all of the interviews exist.
The collection is arranged in four series.
Series 1, Original Interviews
Series 2, Reference Copies
Subseries 1, Umatic Videos
Subseries 2, Reference DVDs
Series 3, Audio Cassettes
Series 4, Transcripts
Biographical / Historical:
In 1990, National Museum of American History curators Dr. Pete Daniel and Dr. Charles McGovern, began conducting research with the intention of creating a traveling exhibit about "American music." Their investigations led them to the Mississippi delta and ultimately to Memphis Tennessee, which had developed as a crossroads where people and musical traditions met beginning in the 1930s. Based on their discoveries they refined their scope in order to focus on the music that grew out of the traditions that met and mixed in Memphis. They weren't able to secure funding for the originally proposed exhibit, but instead partnered with the Memphis Rock'n'Soul Museum to develop the exhibit Rock'n'Soul: Social Crossroads. The museum and exhibit opened in 2000 and explores the influential musical form that has its roots in Memphis.
Much of the basic research for the exhibit as well as the production elements for the companion radio series, "Memphis: Cradle of Rock'n'Soul" came from oral and video history interviews conducted with musicians, record producers, radio disc jockeys and others involved with the development and popularization of rock'n'soul during 1992 and 1999. Daniel and McGovern partnered with John Meehan of Smithsonian Productions to create high-quality, informative interview tapes. The Rock'n'Soul Video History Collection is comprised of these unedited interviews.
Made at the National Museum of American History for the Smithsonian-affiliated Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum in 1992 and 1999.
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. Only refrence DVDs and digital reference copies in the Smithsonian Institution's Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) may be used.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.