Personal items belonging to Jimi Hendrix arrived yesterday at the National Museum of the American Indian accompanied by his sister, Janie Hendrix. The items include a colorful patchwork full-length leather coat, a leather necklace and a leather pouch. These are among the very few of the rock legend's possessions sent home to his family from his apartment in New York after he died on September 18, 1970. Though Hendrix's father asked that all of his son's belongings be sent home to Seattle, including a hundred guitars, scant few arrived. The coat was an obvious favorite of Hendrix's, as seen from the deep creases around the elbows, dark demarcation sweat lines and well-worn hem; until today, the coat has never been displayed nor have photos of it been published.
The coat is the signature piece in the upcoming exhibition, "Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture," which opens Thursday, July 1. This exhibition examines Native people who have been active participants in contemporary music for nearly a century. Hendrix's grandmother was Cherokee and his family continues to recognize and honor this heritage to this day. The exhibition will show how his identity contributed to his artistry and how he in turn influenced a whole generation of musicians — including some of the biggest acts in rock and roll. Other original items, and a Fender Stratocaster guitar reproduction of the one he played at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and a Gibson Flying V guitar reproduction that features artwork that appeared on the original, may also be highlighted in the exhibition.