Striking a chord! New Savannah museum tells the storied history of Gretsch instrumentsDecember 21, 20213 min read
Drums, guitars, history, business and education have come together in a spectacular new interactive museum and exhibit in downtown Savannah that will pique the interest of any music lover.
That Great Gretsch Sound! museum is a new destination where Georgia Southern University helps tell the story of a family-owned company that is still regarded as one of the music industry’s most influential and innovative instrument manufacturers. The permanent display of music memorabilia, highlighting more than 135 years of Gretsch instruments, is featured in District Live’s new lobby and performance space on the banks of the Savannah River. The museum is the latest addition to the Plant Riverside District.
The museum’s opening was recently featured in Premium Guitar :
The exhibit space highlights some of the most popular and unique pieces of Gretsch's historic catalog. The museum lobby features some of the most iconic instruments the company has produced, including the White Falcon™, the Chet Atkins® Country Gentleman®, a Brian Setzer Signature G6120, and a vintage 1963 Jet™ Firebird popularized by AC/DC's Malcolm Young. In the District Live performance hall, visitors will be treated to a visual timeline that will allow them to explore the evolution of Gretsch instruments dating back to the 1920s. Approximately 100 guitars are on display in the exhibit, 48 of which were recently on display in Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame.
The museum was developed through a special partnership between the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music at Georgia Southern University and The Kessler Collection.
In addition to the instruments that line the performance hall and upper section of the lobby, the museum features three sound dome displays with original videos that highlight Gretsch history, instrument production, the worldwide community of past and present Gretsch artists from Chet Atkins and George Harrison to Phil Collins, and the family's storied commitment to music education. Several other display cases take guests on a visual journey from Gretsch's beginnings as a local manufacturer of calf-skin drums, banjos, and accordions to one of the most popular and sought-after producers of guitars and drums during the height of the Rock & Roll era.
Downtown Savannah is now helping tell that Gretsch story. The Gretsch museum includes Gretsch instruments and storyboards with QR code links to detailed narratives.
"We hope this new museum will preserve the long history and legacy of the Gretsch Family and the Gretsch Brand," Dinah Gretsch said. "It is wonderful to share our history with the city of Savannah, the loyal Gretsch fans and all the tourists that will visit the museum."
The museum's artifacts were curated and installed by Aaron Phillips, Georgia Southern's project curator for the Fred and Dinah Gretsch Artifacts Collection. Through his research to prepare the museum, he is confident that the Gretsch Museum will provide a unique musical experience. "My goal was to create a space that is expressive, inspirational, and true to the roots of the Gretsch family and community," Phillips said. "I am in awe of how this turned out!"
To learn more – the full media release from Georgia Southern is attached below:
If you’re a journalist looking to cover That Great Gretsch Sound! – then let us help.
Aaron Phillips, Georgia Southern's project curator for the Fred and Dinah Gretsch Artifacts Collection is available, simply reach out to Georgia Southern Director of Communications Jennifer Wise at email@example.com to arrange an interview today.