ALPLM’s music exhibit at Navy Pier coming to a close Sept. 25


A summer of music history at Chicago’s Navy Pier comes to an end with a bang this month when the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum closes its special exhibit “The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois.”

But before the exhibit comes down, the ALPLM will host a sing-along of the classic “O-o-h Child,” give away merchandise signed by legends of Illinois music and wrap up its podcast exploring the state’s impact on music in America and around the world.

“State of Sound” originated at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as a multi-media exploration of Illinois’ contributions to music. It told the stories of genres from gospel to punk to disco and world-famous performers like Miles Davis, Sam Cooke and Smashing Pumpkins.

A pop-up version of the exhibit opened at Navy Pier this spring. The final day to see it is Sept. 25.

On Sept. 23 and 24, Navy Pier will present “Chicago Live!,” featuring 80 performances on three stages. The Lincoln Presidential Library will be on hand with trivia games, kid’s activities and the chance to win memorabilia signed by artists such as Buddy Guy, Smashing Pumpkins, Disturbed and REO Speedwagon.

The ALPLM will also host the Soul Children of Chicago as they lead the crowd in a sing-along of “O-o-h Child.” The classic song was a hit in 1970 for the Five Stairsteps, Chicago's inspiring family of soul whose patriarch was a Chicago policeman.

Surviving Five Stairsteps member Keni Burke is a part of the development of the program, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 23, at 4:30 at the Wave Wall Stage, near the base of the Centennial Wheel.

The creators of the exhibit – ALPLM’s Lance Tawzer, writer Dave Hoekstra and rock photographer Paul Natkin – will be “State of Sound” on Sept. 23 to discuss the exhibit and some of their favorite parts.

The presidential library will also give away a trip to Springfield for a family of four. The package includes transportation, hotel, meals and tickets to the ALPLM.

The Lincoln Presidential Library produced a 32-episode podcast to accompany the “State of Sound” exhibit. The final episodes have now been released. The include in-depth interviews with John Prine’s brother and drummer; a look at ChicagoFest’s musical impact; and Reid Hyam’s look back at his two-plus decades as head of the Chicago Trax recording studio.

More information about the podcast and the exhibit is available at

The mission of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is to inspire civic engagement through the diverse lens of Illinois history and sharing with the world the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. We pursue this mission through a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship built on the bedrock of the ALPLM’s unparalleled collection of historical materials – roughly 13 million items from all eras of Illinois history.

You can follow the ALPLM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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