Wayne County Foundation staff members were delighted to take some time out of their day recently to visit the ‘Gennett Records: The Birthplace of American Recorded Music’ exhibit at the Wayne County Historical Museum. The exhibit preserves and presents a vital part of Wayne County’s past – the titular Gennett Records.

The exhibit, which was funded during Grant Cycle I, was supported by the Charles and Maxine Matthews Fund for the Arts held at the Foundation. The fund was established in 2012 to not only honor the philanthropic legacy of the Charles and Maxine, but also to support their passions in perpetuity.  

Many famous artists, like Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington and more, recorded some of their early music at the Gennett studio in Richmond.

“The Gennett Story is integral to our community in so many ways!” said WCHM Director Karen Shank-Chapman. “The exhibit is designed to showcase this story from the beginning to how we celebrate it today. From Jazz to Blues, to Country and everything in between, we believe anyone from anywhere can find a connection or reflection of themselves within the exhibit as everyone has a favorite genre of music, and Gennett is truly where it all started.”

Museumgoers will be treated to an enriching experience as they travel through time to learn about the history of recorded music and some of the artists who recorded at Gennett. From interactive videos to a self-playing piano, there’s something for everyone at the new Gennett Records exhibit at the Wayne County Historical Museum!