The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History will feature 1970’s funk band Parliament Funkadelic’s Mothership as a permanent piece of its music exhibition when it open its door in 2015.
First appearing in 1977, the smoke-spewing stage prop quickly became an emblem of the band’s eclectic spirit and a symbol of the post civil rights imagination shared among black America.
Dwandalyn R. Reece, The Smithsonian’s curator of music and performing arts spoke of its symbolism:
“With large iconic objects like this, we can tap into . . . themes of movement and liberation that are a constant in African-American culture. The Mothership as this mode of transport really fits into this musical trope in African American culture about travel and transit.”
Other relics of African American music history to be featured include James Brown’s stage costumes and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet.