First large exhibition of UCSC's Grateful Dead Archive opens in New York on March 5

Ticket for Europe 1990 tour, design by Rick Griffin--one of the images that will be on display at the New-York Historical Society exhibition March 5 to July 4. (Image courtesy of UCSC Special Collections)

The first large-scale exhibition of materials from the Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will be on display at the New-York Historical Society from March 5 through July 4.

Titled "The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society," the exhibition will be drawn almost exclusively from the extraordinary holdings of the Grateful Dead Archive, established at UC Santa Cruz in 2008--along with a small number of objects on loan from Grateful Dead Productions and private collectors.

"This exhibition not only celebrates the band's relationship with New York but its tremendous impact on American culture," noted Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society.

Co-curated by the Historical Society's Debra Schmidt Bach and Nina Nazionale, the exhibition will be organized thematically, beginning with an examination of the Grateful Dead's early days in the Bay Area and its first performance in New York City.

"We are delighted that the New-York Historical Society is offering this unprecedented exhibition, providing the public fans, and scholars with such an exciting overview of the band's journey," said Christine Bunting, head of Special Collections and Archives for the University Library at UC Santa Cruz.

Established in 1804, the New-York Historical Society comprises New York's oldest museum and a nationally renowned research library. It collects, preserves, and interprets American history and art, with the goal of increasing understanding of their impact on today's world through exhibitions, public programs, and research.

"We believe the Grateful Dead Archive at UCSC will be a cornerstone for Dead Studies and for scholarship on the historical and cultural milieu from which the band emerged," Bunting noted.

"The Archive documents the Dead's remarkable creative activity and influence in contemporary music history from 1965 to 1995--including the phenomena of the Deadheads, the band's extensive network of devoted fans, and the band's highly unusual and successful musical business ventures."

Bunting added that when processed, the Grateful Dead Archive will be widely accessible to scholars and fans. It is expected to open in 2011, as the centerpiece of UCSC's new and renovated McHenry Library.