Hailed out of the gate as the worlds finest guitar and music memorabilia exhibit, Ricks Picks: A Lifelong Affair With Guitars & Music opened to a sold-out crowd of 350 visitors August 10, 2012 at Burpee Museum of Natural History
in Nielsen's hometown of Rockford, Illinois.
In the following weeks, hundreds more have visited from Rockford, Chicago, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, New York and as far away as Sweden. Their parting comments have been extraordinarily positive:
"A must see."
"The best music exhibit I've seen. Blows away the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame."
"Better than Seattle's Music Experience."
"It's awesome. I love the drawers you pull out and explore."
"I loved the videos!"
"I'll be back many times."
Ricks Picks presents a state-of-the-art, video-enhanced experience that's gives visitors an, "up close and personal" view into the public, private and even the family life of one of rock music's most legendary figures.
In his lifetime, Nielsen has collected more than 2,000 guitars. An eye-popping sample of his current collection as well as guitars loaned by F.O.R. (Friends of Rick) such as Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana, Slash of Guns N' Roses and Brian May of Queen are currently on display. New F.O.R. instruments are rumored to be on the way and soon to be cycled into the exhibit.
In addition, curators catalogued more than 5000 pieces of rock & roll memorabilia, roughly 3000 of which are currently on the walls, in the cabinets and in the drawers of Rick's Picks. Visitors enjoy an exciting environment enhanced by engaging and informative video, including a 30-minute biopic "Rickumentary" movie featuring appearances by Rick and his family as well as many F.O.R.s.
A concert stage features vintage equipment and historic concert footage, lending a true rock & roll feel to the hall. Large projected images and a rich audio track set the tone for an engaging and one-of-a-kind rock & roll experience. Carefully designed lighting pulses throughout the room, enhancing the overall look and feel.
The exhibit includes 78 guitars, 100 show posters, 55 platinum and gold records, 170 Rick-designed, unique guitar picks and 60 F.O.R. picks, 115 pieces of fan art sent from fans around the world, 200 pins - collected by Rick and worn on stage, 50 pairs of sunglasses from Ricks unique collection, 16 Rick-designed, custom-made sweaters as well as thirteen areas with more than 2000 pieces of memorabilia: scores of handwritten song concepts and lyrics, notes, photos, tickets, awards, backstage passes, etc. and many letters written home while on tour.
Ricks Picks is at Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Illinois now through April 2013. Burpee is located at 737 North Main Street, Rockford, Illinois, 61103. For more information, call 815-965-3433.