Ringo Starr Drums to Become a Museum Item
July 2, 2010 by Charlie
Ringo Starr — New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is recognized for its celebrated exhibitions of iconic visual musicians, most of them deceased, but also plenty of alive ones who’ve attained high-rating status of their profession.
So it struck many within the art world as unusual while the museum introduced this week that it could be taking a step — albeit a tiny step — in the direction of pop culture by displaying ex- Beatle Ringo Starr’s gold-plated snare drum which he played while still playing with the group.
The snare drum originally came from Ludwig Drum Company and was played through the Beatles‘ 1964 U.S. tour. It is going to be displayed at the Met from July 7 to the end of 2010 to honor Starr’s 70th birthday.
The Metropolitan’s musical-instrument department, which is coordinating the exhibit, specializes in musical instruments from the baroque and classical periods, in addition to non-European musical instruments from Africa and Asia.
Jayson Kerr Dobney, the associate curator of the department, said the uncharacteristic diversion into rock music materialized when Ringo Starr was at the museum not too long ago to record an episode of the PBS series “Live from the Artists Den.”
“I’m an amateur drummer, so I had known about this iconic gold drum and I asked him if he would consider loaning it to us for a while,” says Dobney. “He said that he would be honored to.“
The curator stated the museum does not have rock instruments in its permanent collection, however that does not imply it will not think about it down the road. “These things are becoming so iconic,” he said. “It may not seem like they are from all that long ago, but they are from a turning point in historical past, and many have already attained an important cultural stature.”
He included that in contrast to different curatorial parts of the museum, the instruments department considers works from every periods of history. “We take it day-by-day,” mentioned Dobney. “If something appears to be important to us historically, we’d consider it.”
As per the museum, the drum was given to Starr by the Ludwig Drum Company in Chicago in appreciation of popularizing the Ludwig brand — seen on the front of the large bass drum — throughout the band’s legendary February 9th 1964 appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
The drum shall be displayed as a part of the museum’s musical-instrument galleries, which have only just recently reopened following an 8 month lull.