Skip navigation
Share this page

Select Museums

Select: All, None

Exhibitions Home | Current | Upcoming | Past | Virtual

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment

April 23, 2010 – August 29, 2010

American History Museum
14th and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Sponsor: African American History and Culture Museum

Location: 2nd Floor, East Wing, African American History and Culture Gallery

The exhibition explores for the first time the rich history and the cultural significance of Harlem's Apollo Theater. It features photographs and artifacts to trace the story of the theater from its origins in 1913 as a whites-only burlesque hall to its starring role at the epicenter of African American entertainment. Highlights include:

• James Brown's cape and jumpsuit
• Michael Jackson's fedora
• The Supremes' dresses
• Cab Calloway's baton
• Sammy Davis' childhood tap shoes
• Peg Leg Bates' peg leg
• Duke Ellington's score for "Black and Tan Fantasy" (1927)
• Ella Fitzgerald's dress
• Miles Davis' flugelhorn
• LL Cool J's jacket and hat
• Celia Cruz's dress

Introductory film
Video alcoves
Companion book

Organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Learn more