Statement on Bob Dylan’s 1965 Newport Jacket for Exhibition at the National Museum of American History
The leather jacket Bob Dylan wore during his 1965 performance at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island will be on loan to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History for its upcoming exhibition, “American Stories.” Opening April 5, the exhibition will showcase historical and cultural touchstones of American history through more than 100 objects from the museum’s vast holdings, supplemented with a few loans. Dylan’s jacket will join Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the rarely displayed walking stick used by Benjamin Franklin, Lincoln’s gold pocket watch, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves and a fragment of Plymouth rock.
A chronological look at the people, inventions, issues and events that shape the American story, the exhibition will serve as an introductory experience to American history and provide changing exhibition space for new acquisitions.
Dylan’s July 25, 1965, performance featured an amplified band at the traditionally acoustic festival, and he began his short set on electric guitar with “Maggie’s Farm” and then performed “Like a Rolling Stone.” This electrified performance was very controversial at the time because of its introduction of technology to a folk-music setting.
The jacket is on loan from an anonymous collector.