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This Museum Exhibit Will Teach You About "the Night Disco Died"

Find the display on 1979's Disco Demolition Night at Chicago's Elmhurst History Museum until October 8.

by Krystal Rodriguez
30 June 2017, 9:16am

Screenshot via Comedy Central.

On July 12, 1979, thousands of disco records were destroyed at Chicago's Comiskey Stadium in an infamous event known as Disco Demolition Night. Now, an exhibit chronicling the events of that night, titled "Disco Demolition: The Night Disco Died," has been put on display at Chicago's Elmhurst History Museum, where it is scheduled to run through October 8.

Per the museum website, the exhibit is based on Chicago journalist Dave Hoekstra's book of the same name. The book was written alongside Steve Dahl, the local radio disc jockey who helped lead the disco backlash after the station he was working at switched musical formats. The event—during which Dahl would blow up disco records—was originally planned as a baseball promotion to take place between a White Sox double-header, but it quickly got out of hand as thousands more fans than expected showed up to the venue and rushed the field once he destroyed the first batch. Hoekstra last year gathered an oral history of the Disco Demolition Night for Chicago Magazine.

The exhibit is curated by Lance Tawzer, reports the Chicago Tribune, and includes various memorabilia from that time period, such as the uniform White Sox catcher Mike Colbern wore that day, a "Disco Sucks" belt owned by Dahl, and a framed letter from White Sox promotions worker Mike Veeck apologizing to an unhappy fan.

Last year, Comedy Central series Drunk History reenacted the events of the Disco Demolition in an episode with narration from an increasingly inebriated Bob Odenkirk. Earlier this year, we spoke with a representative of the Library of Congress, which recently hosted a month-long "Bibliodiscotheque" series dedicated to disco culture.

Disco Demolition Night