Among the highlights of the more than 100 artifacts are five Jerry Garcia guitars -- including his Travis Bean TB5 -- two guitars from Bob Weir, one being his customized Ibanez "cowboy" axe, and one of Mickey Hart's custom-painted drum kits, along with parts of the Dead's famed Wall of Sound PA rig. Original lyric manuscripts for "Truckin'," "Sugaree" and "Box of Rain" will be on display, as well as the Father Time robe the late promoter and onetime Dead manager Bill Graham wore for New Year's Eve shows in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Grateful Dead Hotline answering machine. Sound system designer Owsley "Bear" Stanley and concert tape archivist Dick Latvala contributed notes and other materials.
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The exhibit will also include Dead-related artwork such as posters and album covers, and a section dedicated to the group's Deadhead fan following. A number of items were loaned to the Rock Hall by the University of California-Santa Cruz, which plans to open its own Dead exhibit this spring.
In a statement announcing the exhibit, Rock Hall vice-president James Henke said that, "The Grateful Dead is a band that is identified with a remarkable era in American history, and, insasmuch as they embody that era, their work is timeless. They've inspired many performers and bands, but none has exhibited their musical depth and cultural resonance. In a 30-year career, this group wrote their own rules and created a community unlike any band before or since."