“Les Paul: The Wizard of Waukesha” is now open in Waukesha.
The 2,000-square-foot exhibit takes visitors on an experiential journey through Les Paul’s life, featuring eight chapters presented in the inventor’s own words.
One-of-a-kind artifacts and memorabilia, including rare guitars, Paul’s personal belongings and original inventions are on display. Several valuable artifacts on loan from The Les Paul Foundation are also in the Treasures Gallery section of the exhibit.
The exhibit “goes beyond traditional exhibits by connecting guests of all ages with his life story, including one of the biggest influences on his career – his hometown,” said Kirsten Lee Villegas, president and chief executive officer of the museum. “It’s like nothing else ever created to honor him because it focuses on who Les was, and how he thought, inspiring people to pursue their dreams.”
The legendary guitarist and electronics innovator (1915-2009), who was born in Waukesha, helped push a simple stringed instrument beyond its acoustic limits. The Les Paul Model Gibson guitar, a solid-body electric guitar introduced in 1952, became the driving force behind the sweeping changes in popular music of the late 20th century, powering everything from blues and Southern rock to alternative and metal. Paul also accelerated the advancement of studio recording through innovations such as sound-on-sound, overdubbing, reverberation effects and multi-tracking.