Fifty years after their first visit, the Beatles have returned to New York City, this time in the form of an exhibition curated by the Grammy Museum at the New York Public Library. The exhibition, Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles! covers the history of the Beatles’ influence in America, from the band’s premiere on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 to their final full concert in 1966 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.
Museum curator and NYU alumna Barbara Cohen-Stratyner said the items featured in the exhibition are a project of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles that were brought to the NYPL. She said the tour of Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles! complements the Beatles’ 50-year anniversary appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” on Feb. 9, 1964.
“The exhibit displays the profound impact of pop music in America,” Cohen-Stratyner said.
As museum-goers enter the exhibit, “All My Loving” plays over the speakers. The collection begins with the band’s influences and moves chronologically through the band’s time in the United States. The exhibit includes concert footage, newspaper headlines from the era and rare photographs. There are installations and interactive pieces such as a vocal booth, a replica of a 1964 teenage girl’s bedroom and audiovisual history lessons.
One of the most notable items is George Harrison’s guitar.
“People tiptoe around it,” Cohen-Stratyner said.
The exhibit also features an interactive lesson on drums from Ringo Starr.
Neil Offen, from Chapel Hill, N.C., visited the museum and said he was most fascinated by the interactive drum.
“It makes you feel like you’re a part of the band,” Offen said. “[The exhibit] combines memorabilia, music and Beatle fandom all in one.”
Myra Yousef, a New York City resident and exhibit visitor, said she was impressed by the details included in the replica of a teenage girl’s bedroom, including catalogues and posters by the nightstand.
“I love [the recreation],” Yousef said. “It’s accurate.”
Offen said the showing could have benefited from expanding the exhibit’s scope.
“The exhibit is focused on only [a] few years,” Offen said. “You don’t get a sense of how the band started or, more interestingly, ended.”
The exhibit will remain at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, 40 Lincoln Center Place until May 10. Admission is free.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 24 print edition. Madeleine Ball is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]