“Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” opens at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Nov 8, 2017

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Credit Public domain photo via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

“Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” is now on display at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. It focuses on rock music and its influences on Civil Rights, War, gender equality and freedom of speech.

“The really great thing about seeing some of those times when you had the FBI perhaps investigating Elvis and they have files on Lennon and even Whitney Houston, you really start to see that the government, a lot of times, saw this as a threat.”

That’s Karen Herman, Vice President of Curatorial Affairs at the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. She tells us how rock music challenges assumptions and beliefs and often encourages action.

“Thing about Rock and Roll is that it is a rebellious art form. It always has been and it always will be. And what you saw in the earlier years, we start this exhibition in the Eisenhower period, so you’ve got Elvis and those guys, but what you see is a lot of coded language, the songs you know, they’re talking about things but they’re not really talking about it, and then as you go through the exhibit, as you go through the musical history, you start to really see people becoming much more blatant in what they’re saying.”

As curator preparing the exhibition, she shared with President Ford’s interactions with musicians of his era.

“Did he know Peter Frampton? No, his son knew Peter and that’s how that relationship started. But it also was a way for the PR people and everyone to say, ‘Hey, look. Gerald Ford is cool because he’s hanging out with Peter Frampton and again, it helped them on the other side and opened roads to the younger generations.”

“Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” is open now through February 11th at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.