A new exhibition at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts will transport museum-goers back to a pivotal moment in American cultural history. The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes will be on view from March 12-June 2, 2013, and is sponsored by FieldEddy Insurance and Raymond James and Associates. The media sponsors are The Republican and WDRC 102.9 FM.
The exhibit documents the earliest moments of Beatlemania, including the band’s arrival at JFK Airport in February of 1964, their historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, and other moments from their first days in North America. These initial appearances marked the beginning of the “British Invasion” and touched off a cultural shock wave that is still being felt almost 50 years later.
The photographs in the exhibit are from the archives of CBS Television and LIFE photographer, Bill Eppridge, who witnessed first-hand the hysteria that surrounded the band during those first days in America. His photographs give viewers a rare look at the band behind the curtain at the Sullivan taping, inside their suites at the Plaza Hotel, and on the road during their first tour in the United States.
Eppridge himself is a storied figure in photojournalism. Through his camera lens, Eppridge documented major civil rights events, presented photo essays on the Ku Klux Klan, and created a groundbreaking series on homosexuality in America. Among his best-known images is that of Robert F. Kennedy as he lay fatally wounded on the Ambassador Hotel floor. The renowned LIFE Magazine photographer will share reflections on his career at a special event at the D’Amour Museum on April 21 at 2:00 pm.
The exhibition is an excellent complement to other exhibits at the Springfield Museums, including Jam Session and Snapshot, both currently at the D’Amour Museum, as well as GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World at the Springfield Science Museum and George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, and The John F. Kennedy Experience at the Wood Museum of Springfield History.