Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 22, 2014
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3148 •

Amy Danielson • Marketing and Communications • 651-259-3020 •

Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis

Exhibit on view April 26, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015 at Minnesota History Center

Kids at CalhounFrom family reunions to the nightclub scene, there is no one who has documented the Twin Cities' black community like Charles Chamblis. Affectionately called "The Pictureman," Chamblis had a passion for photography and a knack for being everywhere at the right time. Explore the new exhibit "Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis" at the Minnesota History Center, April 26, 2014 - Jan. 4, 2015. (PLEASE NOTE NEW CLOSING DATE)

"Charles loved being around people and because of his welcoming personality—and a smile that came as easy as his camera clicks—people gravitated to him. That relationship comes out often in his images," said Ben Petry, exhibit developer.

Through more than 60 color images exhibit goers can explore the Riverview Supper Club, Minnesota's oldest African American club; discover the beginnings of the Minneapolis sound developed by Maurice McKinnies and the Champions, Edgar Murphy, the Valdons and of course Prince; and share in the daily life of the Twin Cities' Black community through images of community celebrations, local businessmen and everyday people on the street.

Artifacts are also represented including suits worn by Prince and Jellybean Johnson in the movie "Purple Rain;" a snare drum played by Edgar Murphy and a 24k gold-plated microphone used by the Valdons; and sports equipment from NFL football players Chuck and his son Jay Foreman.

Help us ID the photos
Some of the people and places in Chamblis' photos are unidentifiable to us. We’re looking for community members to help us name the people and places in the photographs that will be featured in the exhibit. Share names, comments and personal stories about the photos online at

Related Events:

  • Sights, Sounds and Soul Exhibit Opening
    Tuesday, April 29, 7 to 9 p.m. FREE
    Attend an evening event to meet some of the people featured in Chamblis' photographs and learn about their community today. Also, meet with teens who created a special photography exhibit taking inspiration from Chamblis' mission "to feel what he saw." As part of MNHS' Teen Advisory Council, the teens worked with photography instructors and historians to research and document their neighborhoods and community. Enjoy music, see the exhibits and create new community connections. Light refreshments will be served.

  • SpiderRetroRama: Fashion with Soul, Minnesota History Center
    Friday, May 16, 8 to 11 p.m., $25/$20 for MNHS members.
    Get your groove on as this year’s fashion cocktail party takes on vintage looks from the 1970s and 80s. The fashion show will feature some of Chamblis' own subjects modeling garments made especially for them by Twin Cities designers. Comedian "Fancy Ray" McCloney will emcee with DJ Larry "Spider" Hamilton (pictured at right) providing the tunes. The party will include photo opps, vintage and retro shopping, souvenir activities and cocktail demos. Tickets go on sale Jan. 30, 2014. Look for more information online.

Exhibit and Program Support
"Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis," is made possible in part by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

Legacy logo

Location, Hours and Admission
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Admission to "Sights, Sounds and Soul: Twin Cities Through the Lens of Charles Chamblis" is included with regular History Center admission of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $6 for children ages 6 to 17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

About the Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a research library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.