First Avenue: Exhibit Experience

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 8, 2019
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org 
Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137, lauren.peck@mnhs.org

First Avenue: Exhibit Experience

Discover how First Avenue, its staff, and the Minneapolis music scene has changed over five decades. Visitors enter the exhibit much like they enter the venue, by going through the First Avenue front doors where a montage of performance videos from local, national and international acts welcomes them. Around each corner, a new band, singer or DJ is featured with video, photographs, artifacts and ephemera like posters, ticket stubs and booking calendars.

Highlights include:

  • The 1970s: Video clips from the first show ever, performed by Joe Cocker, and a disco dancefloor complete with lighted dance squares brings the 1970s to life.
  • Staff stories: Enter the recreated office of long-time manager Steve McClellan to hear interviews about the transformation of the club into a live music venue. Staff photographer Dan Corrigan shares insider stories from backstage, on stage, the green room and the owner’s box where Prince would reign.
  • 7th St. Entry & the Mainroom: Peer inside the 7th St. Entry for performance footage of big-name bands in their earliest days. Then enter a stage inspired by the Mainroom floor for an object theatre with personal reflections from staff, performers and fans on what First Avenue means to them.
  • The artists: Throughout the exhibit explore First Avenue’s musical past including three graphic towers and display cases that showcase punk and indie, grunge and current artists including musicians such as Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland, Jayhawks, Lizzo, Dessa, DJ Keezy, Maria Isa and Sophia Eris.
  • Prince: A section is devoted to Prince and the movie “Purple Rain,” complete with his purple suit and other artifacts, as well as a section devoted to his passing with memorial letters and items left at First Avenue in April 2016.
  • Posters: Get an up-close view of a wall of concert posters from 2000-today on loan from a local collector.
  • On the road: Visit Doomtree’s actual touring van to hear stories from Dessa, Lazerbeak and P.O.S. about life on the road. At a “Plinko”-style game, drop a coaster to get to the gig and hope that you can avoid the many touring hazards, like road closures and flat tires.
  • Fan experience: Fans can add their favorite band to a chalkboard wall and write their favorite experience on an index card to add to a wall of concert t-shirts and fan photos.

A photo op at the exit comes into view, with two blank stars on the star wall where exhibit-goers can use a dry erase marker to add their name, so they too can be part of the legend of First Avenue.