DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Don’t let the name fool you.
“Women Who Rock,” the exhibit that opened recently at the Henry Ford museum, crosses musical boundaries beyond rock and roll. But there is a lot of shaking going on in the exhibit that had visitors bopping their heads, goggling at dresses and listening intently to the video stories of the likes of Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Queen Latifah and Whitney Houston.
“Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” features 70 female artists – most well-known, but some little-known – whose voices or musical instruments have made America dance, laugh, smile and sometimes cry.
Guitars, song sheets, scribbled notes and handwritten lyrics are among the 250 artifacts. But by far the biggest attraction to some visitors were the clothes.
“That’s freaking gorgeous,” said Rodney Tusek, 47, referring to a Diana Ross dress made of what appeared to be green and yellow shingle-like beads.
Tusek, a music lover who plays guitar in a band called Screw, was visiting the exhibit with his wife, Donna Tusek, 46, and their daughter, Briana, 15.
“I love it,” Rodney Tusek said. “It’s got a lot of things I do know about and a lot I don’t know about. And the clothes are exceptional.”
There were plenty of clothes to see. Among them: Madonna’s tux, Tina Turner’s red lace dress, Janet Jackson’s military-style jacket and – Briana’s favorite – Cyndi Lauper’s shoes, displayed to show they’re painted on the soles.
Briana said she was especially glad to see women featured in the exhibit, which was created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
“They’re not given enough credit for what they do,” Briana said.
“Women are a big part of the music industry,” Donna Tusek said.
And despite the name, the exhibit included women from various genres and generations, including gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, country singer Taylor Swift and blues singer Bonnie Raitt.
Juanita Dauya was visiting from Dallas and checked out the exhibit, after touring the Motown Museum in Detroit.
“I think it’s fabulous,” she said. “There’s a lot of history here that I just didn’t know about. And I especially appreciate seeing so many African-American women and how much respect they’re getting for their influence. But it’s good to see all women being acknowledged.”
There was no hesitation about her favorite museum piece: “I’m really excited to see that hat that Aretha Franklin wore at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. But this is just great. I really like it all.”
The exhibit runs through Aug. 17 at the museum in Dearborn.