Monday, May 30, 2011

Women in Jazz: The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, 1937-1949

Where: National Museum of American History

When: through May 31

This exhibit is in the archives cases, and once again, I am reminded how little attention anyone pays to these shows. No matter how crowded the museum is, there's rarely even one person (other than me) looking at these little displays. In a previous job, I was responsible for putting on displays, and I feel for anyone who does it for a living. It's an enormous amount of work, and unless your display is tremendously flashy, no one notices.

This little offering, easily viewable in a lunch hour, even paired with another exhibit, concerns the first integrated, female big band. They began as a school band from Mississippi and grew to be quite popular on their own, when they ended their relationship with the school. They toured with the USO during World War II. The exhibit includes photographs obtained from band members and other memorabilia from their tours.

Verdict: Go see this little display - it will only take a few minutes to look at what's on offer, and you'll undoubtedly make some archivist feel good.

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