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Crack Boom Bam! Georgia Southern Museum unveils new exhibit on the evolution of the drum set

"Crack Boom Bam!" is a new exhibit at the Georgia Southern Museum, curated by Dr. Matthew Hill. This immersive journey explores the evolution of the drum set, tracing its roots from ancient times to modern-day prominence. Graduating seniors Abigail Bass and Breanne Barco, along with a talented team, played pivotal roles in shaping the exhibit's narrative and design.

In a harmonious fusion of history and music, the Georgia Southern Museum proudly unveils its latest exhibit, "Crack Boom Bam!," offering a deep dive into the evolution of the drum set.

Spearheaded by Dr. Matthew Hill, the Gretsch Collection Curator of Permanent Collection, Loans, and Exhibitions at Georgia Southern University, this exhibit is a testament to the collaborative effort between academia, creativity, and musical innovation. With a distinguished background, including a PhD in organology from the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Hill's expertise promises to unravel the intricate history of this iconic musical instrument.


Joining Dr. Hill in this scholarly endeavor is graduate assistant Abby Silon, whose meticulous research and unwavering dedication have been instrumental in curating this groundbreaking exhibit. Together, they have meticulously woven a narrative that traces the drum set's origins from ancient roots to its modern-day prominence.

The drum set, a relatively young instrument in the realm of music, traces its origins back just over a century. Its journey from the cultural landscapes of Turkey to the transformative hands of Black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is meticulously chronicled within the exhibit. Dr. Hill aptly describes it as a "conglomeration of things," highlighting its unique position in the musical world.

Graduating seniors Abigail Bass and Breanne Barco, alongside a team of talented individuals, seized the opportunity to shape the exhibit's narrative. Selected through a rigorous process led by Professor Edward Rushton, their creative vision and attention to detail shine through in every aspect of the exhibit's design.

Bass, originally from Woodstock, GA, began an internship at Davis Marketing and now works there part-time. Reflecting on her experience, she emphasizes the significance of teamwork and leadership in bringing their vision to life.

"Every year the graphic design professional practices class works together with the campus museum," she shared about her experience as a designer and director, "This was one of my first times being in a leadership position and having to manage my peers and delegate the different responsibilities, but I think as a result of the help from my teacher and the teamwork of myself and my co-director, we were able to make this incredible exhibit happen."

Abigail Bass

The exhibit's vibrant color concept, transitioning from red to blue and merging into purple, symbolizes the unity of individual components within the drum set—a metaphor echoed in the collaborative spirit of its creators.

As visitors navigate through the exhibit, they are immersed in the rich history and cultural significance of the drum set. From its humble beginnings to its ubiquitous presence in today's music scene, each display panel offers a glimpse into its evolution.

Dr. Hill's profound insights during the exhibit's opening reception underscore the exhibit's central theme—the collective journey towards musical innovation. He invites attendees to ponder the intricate layers of history that have shaped the drum set into what it is today, emphasizing the contributions of diverse communities and cultures.

The invaluable collaboration between Georgia Southern University and the Gretsch Company, exemplified by the Gretsch Archives and Collection of Musical Instruments, serves as a cornerstone of the exhibit. Fred and Dinah Gretsch's legacy, spanning over 140 years, continues to inspire musicians and enthusiasts alike.

Abigail Bass, Abby Silon, Dr. Matthew Hill, and Dr. David Owen (Dean, College of Arts and Humanities)

In a heartfelt expression of gratitude, the Georgia Southern Museum acknowledges the tireless efforts of the winning team and the creative brilliance of all those involved in bringing "Crack Boom Bam!" to life: 

Abigail Bass, Breanne Barco, Alexis Garcia, Jasira Drew, Emily Jimerson, Cole Register, Alexis Lymus, and Kelsey Hildenbrand, as well as the creative and thoughtful designs of: Diamante Barleston, Sara Bell, Anisha Bishop-Strobridge, Autumn Byers, Antonio Calle, Jalea Davis, Brandon Godfrey, Jordan Gray, Michael Hudson, Cameron Jordan, Nick Kelly, Brianna McLucas, Hannah Oglesby, Grace Sasser, Alon Sims, and Kavan Thompson.

Their dedication has ensured that this exhibit stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the drum set and its profound impact on musical history.

As visitors depart from the exhibit, they carry with them a newfound appreciation for the rhythmic heartbeat that resonates through generations of music. "Crack Boom Bam!" not only celebrates the past but also ignites a passion for the endless possibilities that lie ahead in the world of percussion.

In the words of Dr. Hill, "Playing drums is really, really cool"—a sentiment that echoes through the exhibit halls, inspiring generations to come.


The Georgia Southern Museum is located at 2142 Southern Dr. (Sweetheart Circle) on the Georgia Southern Statesboro campus. You can visit Tuesday to Friday from 9am-5pm and on Sundays from 2-5pm. The museum is closed Monday, Saturday, and University holidays.

Admission is just $4 per person, with children 3 and under getting in free. Admission is also free to all Georgia Southern students and museum members.

For more information, call the museum at 912-478-5444.