The Salvaging Sound exhibition documented our journey through artifacts, storytelling, and photographs, as well as oral history recordings and music.

Salvaging Sound:
Detroit Sound Conservancy and the Struggle to Preserve Detroit’s Musical Legacies

Detroit Historical Museum Community Gallery January 19 – April 7, 2019


From City Hall to international exhibitions, Detroit Sound Conservancy and our community partners have consistently raised the alarm that our sound needs salvaging. Whether it’s historical sites at risk of demolition, recordings disintegrating in basements, or musicians with inspiring stories yet to be sung, the time to organize and act is now. This exhibition documents our vision and journey through historical artifacts, storytelling, inspirations, photographs, and ephemera, as well as online oral history recordings and music. Mobile artifacts shown here include a refurbished jukebox salvaged from Jordan’s Barber & Beauty, the salvaged and renovated Blue Bird Inn Stage, and elements from the Club Heaven Sound System. In addition, the exhibition follows projects dating back to 2012, including photographs, posters, and artifacts salvaged from the former Graystone International Jazz Museum & Hall of Fame, materials that pay homage to our struggle to protect United Sound Systems Recording Studios from demolition, and our plan to create a Detroit Sound Hall of Fame.

The exhibit also includes a pop-up Preservation Factory highlighting the need for ongoing preservation of Detroit’s musical legacies. Finally, this exhibit foregrounds our current plan to purchase and reimagine the Blue Bird Inn at 5021 Tireman with the support of The Kresge Foundation and Detroit’s West Side community.

Salvaging Sound is dedicated to singer, poet, activist, and friend LaVell Williams (1967-2018).

Salvaging Sound: Exhibition

Detroit Sound Conservancy would like to thank:

Robert Alford, Ceylan Akturk, Ventra Asana, Audio Rescue Team, Angie Baan, Mike Banks, Bill Barker, Zack Belanger, Benjamin Bond, Dylan Box, James Braddock, Tim Caldwell, Gabe Chess, Elizabeth Clemens, David Clements, Libby Cole, Doc Colony, Doug Coombe, Christopher Cushman, Al Davis, Kiko Davis, Ladonna Davis, Jeremy Deputat, Jim Diamond, Jon Dones, Leo Early, Laura Foxman, Jim Gallert, Paul Ganson, Bree Gant, Lottie “The Body” Graves, Laura Grimshaw, Karen Hudson-Samuels, Margo Jones, Jessica Kcmarik, Michael Kearns, Trish Kinsey, Kristen Kwasny, Michelle Lannoo, Amy Lobsiger, Peter Lusch, Nicole Macdonald, Barbara Martin, Chris Mayes-Wright, Michelle McKinney, Alyssa Mehnert, Patrice Merritt, Megan O’Connell, Alexandra Penn, Carlie Quezada, Steven Reaume, Alfredo Rico-Dimas, Trenna Ruffner, Krysta Ryzewski, Phil Simpson, The Siracuse Family, Ellie Schneider, Kim Schroeder, Lee Simmons, Adam Stanfel, Gary Stork, Kevin Sykes, Rob Szypko, Reginald Tiessen, Alexandros Tsitlakidis, Walter Wasacz, Ron Watters, David Ziolkowski and the entire staff of the Detroit Historical Society.

Carleton S. Gholz, PhD, Founder, Executive Director, and Curator

Jonah Raduns-Silverstein, Projects Coordinator

For press or private tour information or to learn more please contact our director via email at or call direct at 313-757-5082.

This event has been sponsored in part by Michigan Council for the Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.


— “Third Thursday Speaker Series: Salvaging Sound” on January 17, 2019 at 6 pm at Detroit Historical Museum. Learn more and RSVP here and here.

— Exhibit Opens January 19th

Opening Reception February 8th

February 8, 2019
6:00pm to 9:00pm

Featuring live performances on the Blue Bird Stage by Rev. Robert B. Jones, Sr. and Detroit’s Soul Ambassador Melvin Davis (with support from Drew Schultz on drums, Matt Ryan on bass, and Evan Mercer on keys).

Preservation Factory activation February 23rd, Saturday, 1 – 4 pm for African American History Day at the Museum

Preservation Factory activation March 23rd, Saturday, 1 – 4 pm for Women’s History Day at the Museum

— Salvaging Sound Bus Tour April 6th – More info TBA

— Exhibit Closes April 7th

Opening reception photos below by Nephilim Art Studios:

Salvaging Sound: Opening Reception

Updated 7 October 2020

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