Tempe History Museum Is Seeking Artifacts From the City's Musical Past

New Times archives
Gin Blossoms back in the day.
Anyone who may have been there on the last night of business of a Tempe venue will tell you it's a lot like the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Nita's Hideaway, Long Wong's, 6 East, Hollywood Alley -- none of these beloved nightspots went down without a fight. In some cases, the looting started long before last call, with devotees trying to walk out with stools, signage, even large hunks of the bar.

I'd like to think someone somewhere saved a large hunk of Long Wong's graffiti'd bathroom wall or even an unsanitary square inch of 6 East, although you might have to get a Board of Health dispensation to display it somewhere. These would be artifacts I'm sure many nostalgic Tempe music fans would pay to see on display.

And Tempe History Museum is trying to do that, if literally all the pieces fall together.

The renovated museum has been producing exhibits and programs all about Tempe's past, present, and future for many years. Currently, it has an exhibit up called "Made in Tempe" that showcases things manufactured within the city limits, although it is not known whether toxic Tempe Town Lake is one of them.

A new exhibit is set to open in November to be called "the Tempe Sound" and its curator, Josh Roffler, is hoping to borrow from fans whatever cherished Tempe music memorabilia they are willing to part with for a few months.

"We at the Tempe History Museum have long recognized the importance of local music, and have talked about doing a music exhibit for a number of years," says Roffler. "In 2010, we remodeled our museum dramatically, and one of the things we added was a performance space. Ever since, we have been hosting free local music performances on a regular basis. We have thus become more involved in the local music scene over the past few years, and so it feels right to start working on a music exhibit."

Location Info


Tempe History Museum

809 E. Southern Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: General

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Bryce Hadley
Bryce Hadley

I remember standing outside Long Wongs when I was 15 watching Zig Zag Black through the doorway. Went to every show of theirs that I could and still have one of their CDs

Pete Facundo
Pete Facundo

I love the Tempe History Museum. This is so awesome it's not even funny.

Jesse Srogoncik
Jesse Srogoncik

I'll look into it... Keep in mind anything that they have is likely to pre-date the Tempe "heyday".

Alexis Boyle
Alexis Boyle

Jesse Srogoncik - think Mr. Clark or the Puppies crew might have anything?

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