New exhibit showcases the history of Milwaukee’s music scene

New exhibit showcases the history of Milwaukee’s music scene

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee
Melodies and Memories: 200 Years of Milwaukee Music

It’s no secret that here at Radio Milwaukee we love Milwaukee music, but what is ‘Milwaukee music?’

From polka and folk songs to punk and hip-hop, music has been important to our city from it’s inception – leaving us with a rich history that paints the picture, or the sounds, of our past.

This new exhibit, running now until April, highlights the ins and outs of Milwaukee music over the past 200 years.Makenzie Boettcher | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

This new exhibit, running now until April, highlights the ins and outs of Milwaukee music over the past 200 years.

Starting this month, the Milwaukee County Historical Society is looking back on these ‘sounds of our past’ through their new exhibit, Melodies and Memories: 200 Years of Milwaukee Music.

And with the exhibit covering everything from cultural music and venues to music education and production, curator Ben Barbera says their mission is to not only highlight our rich music history but to show, to many, that it even exists,

Clarinet of big-band/jazz icon Woody Herman can be found in the exhibit, along with many other impressive collectables both own and borrowed by the historical society. Makenzie Boettcher | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Clarinet of big-band/jazz icon Woody Herman can be found in the exhibit, along with many other impressive collectables both own and borrowed by the historical society.

“I would mention to people that our next exhibit is going to be on Milwaukee music and people would say ‘Oh, there’s Milwaukee music?’ Yes. There is Milwaukee music, there was Milwaukee music and there always will be Milwaukee music.”

…And quite a bit of music, too.

In fact, Barbera said with the overwhelming amount of songs, artifacts and fun facts, he could have added much more to the already incredibly impressive exhibit,

“You really don’t realize that music has been important to our community since its inception… there have been these figure like Charles K Harris and Hans Balatka, the Director of the Milwaukee Musical Society in 1850… these were kind of the ‘rock stars’ of their day.”

The new exhibit features plenty of hands-on learning for kids and adults, including playable instruments from Cascio for adults and an 'instrument petting zoo' for children.Makenzie Boettcher | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

The new exhibit features plenty of hands-on learning for kids and adults, including playable instruments from Cascio for adults and an ‘instrument petting zoo’ for children.

Check out my full interview with curator Ben Barbera on the new exhibit below:

Show posters found on the upper floor of the exhibit advertise "all-age" and various punk shows. Makenzie Boettcher | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Show posters found on the upper floor of the exhibit advertise “all-age” and various punk shows.

Melodies and Memories: 200 Years of Milwaukee Music runs now until April 29, 2017, at: Milwaukee County Historical Society, 910 N. Old World Third Street.

For more information on the Milwaukee County Historical Society, you can visit the exhibit’s website or at milwaukeehistory.net.