New music exhibit at Missouri History Museum features blues legends


ST. LOUIS – It’s quite an audible sight to take in the new St. Louis Sound exhibit at the Missouri History Museum with a St. Louisan who helped make history.

“That’s me,” said Robbie Montgomery, former Ikette. “This was our review. Back in those days, people had revues so we were self-contained.”

Wednesday afternoon in Forest Park Montgomery took a trip down memory lane showing the posters and memorabilia from her time as an Ikette with Jessie Smith and Vanetta Fields, along with Ike and Tina Turner playing the Club Imperial.

“All of the blues singers were kind of from St. Louis like Albert King or Little Milton,” Montgomery said. “I was an Ikette with Ike and Tina Turner back in the ’60s. This is a wonderful thing this exhibit, looking and remembering the Club Imperial where we used to do the Shag.”

Whether it’s blues legend Henry Townsend’s piano or Josephine Baker’s boots and dress, the new exhibit sounds the trumpet and takes visitors on a journey through this midwest city’s music, rock and rolling on the river.

Or in Montgomery’s case, through the door and back onto the stage.

“The door,” Montgomery said. “That’s amazing they took the door. Club Imperial was one of those clubs that had black and white entertainers. When I was with Ike and Tina, we played there along with Chuck Berry. I think Fats Domino was there.”

On Thursday evening, the Missouri History Museum will hold its last Twilight Thursdays concert series presented by McDonald’s of Metro St. Louis Co-op.

They will close the season with a Tina Turner tribute, and an original Ikette joining in song, telling stories, and signing copies of her new cookbook.

“People are so excited for tomorrow night,” said Lindsay Newton, director of education & community engagement for the Missouri History Museum. 

“You’re welcome to picnic but there are also food trucks and food vendors selling food and drinks. Bring a blanket and enjoy the show.”

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