The boots are tattered, the dress is worn out and the instruments are chipped and scuffed. They traveled to 111 shows, 19 countries and four continents with Taylor Swift.
You can see them up close at a new exhibit honoring Swift and her rise to superstardom opening Saturday, Oct. 20, at Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.
“The lyric sheet for the ‘Tim McGraw’ song is really cool. She was very young when she wrote it, and you can tell it’s a young person’s handwriting,” says MIM curatorial assistant David Wegehaupt about the original lyrics for Swift’s debut single.
The lyric sheet and around nine other personal items, clothing and instruments are on display, including a ukulele that Swift bought while on a family vacation in Hawaii. She played the ukulele during tour and music video performances of her song “Fearless.”
“The instruments will be exciting for visitors, because you can see that she actually played them, and you can see scuffs and such from being heavily used,” says Wegehaupt.
The centerpiece is a massive bell, almost six feet tall. Used during the 2011 Speak Now World Tour, Swift would hit the bell at the beginning of the song “Haunted.” The bell would be lifted in the air while acrobats dropped out of it, and Swift would disappear underneath it to change for her next act.
The Swift exhibit is the largest in the museum’s Artist Gallery — after Elvis Presley’s.
Wegehaupt says 22-year-old Swift is proof that, even at a young age, the things you do can be taken seriously.
“One major thing that sets her apart from other artists is that she writes or co-writes all of her songs, and that’s rare for any artist to do these days,” says Wegehaupt. “She also plays multiple instruments, and that’s something important to encourage. We strive to represent music from all different genres and countries, and this is the music of today. She is a recording artist that has won six Grammy Awards, and that is somewhat a standard of artist success.”
Swift’s new album, “Red,” will be released Oct. 22. Guests can preorder it at the museum on Oct. 20, opening day. The day also includes live performances of Swift songs by the Rock ’n’ Roll High School choir, songwriting and instrument workshops, and tours of the exhibit.
DETAILS >> Exhibit opens 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, and festivities go until 5 p.m. After that, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix. $18 for adults, $14 for teens 13-19, $10 for children 4-12, free for children 3 and younger. (480) 478-6000 or themim.org.
• Nichole, a senior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org