Give Peace a Chance: John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s 1969 Bed-in for Peace Exhibit to open at Muhammad Ali Center


Press Release
Give Peace a Chance: John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s 1969 Bed-in for Peace Exhibit to open at Muhammad Ali Center March 15

Exhibit will run through May 26 and coincide with Abbey Road on the River Music Festival

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (March 11, 2014) The international touring exhibition, Give Peace a Chance, will open on March 15 at the Muhammad Ali Center. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the historic bed-in for peace when John Lennon and Yoko Ono hung out in their pajamas for eight daysMay 26 to June 2– during their 1969 bed-in in suite 1742 of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada. Visitors can view this retrospective exhibit at the Ali Center through May 26. Admittance to the exhibit is included in the Centers regular admission price.

Courtesy of curator/historian Joan E. Athey, Give Peace a Chance contains powerful images from photographer Gerry Deiter who was on assignment for Life Magazine and offers visitors a chance to sit on the edge of the recreated bed-in. Visitors can also read stories from the bed-in participants, take photos in a re-make of the bed scene from the hotel room, and view the documentary Give Peace a Song.

Reclining on their hotel bed, John Lennon and his new wife read Lao Tzu and recorded the anthem Give Peace a Chance. But mostly they talked about peace and chaos in a room crammed tight with star-struck teenagers, reporters, disc jockeys, Hare Krishnas, Timothy Leary, Tommy Smothers, Dick Gregory, Al Capp, Murray the K, and others. They used their bed as a way to put themselves and their message in the center of a searing spotlight, demonstrating through vulnerability and openness their unrelenting support for their beliefs. No celebrity couple had ever used their bed as a place of protest, nor had anyone before been so available in person and by telephone to the world.

Were going to sell peace the way other people sell soap, Lennon said to a young, accomplished photographer on assignment for Life Magazine. From May 26 to June 2, 1969, Brooklyn-born photojournalist, Gerry Deiter, was able to capture the deep love between the newlyweds, the celebrities that dropped in, and many more candid scenes at the bed-in. He was the only photographer to stay the entire 8 days.

Deiters story never ran as it was replaced by news of Ho Chi Mihns death. Deiter was so moved by the experience that he hid the photos away for 33 years, vowing never to exploit them. As a photojournalist, Deiters documentary-style photographs illustrate John and Yokos commitment to each other and their desire to break down barriers between power, celebrity, status and convention in a sincere desire to end war and violence in the world.

Give Peace a Chance speaks directly to Muhammad Ali’s want for a harmonious world; for peace between all people. This exhibit puts all six of Muhammad’s Core Principles on display particularly conviction and respect. It is our hope that visitors will take away the message that you dont always have to have the loudest voice to be heard; many times it is the least obtrusive message that gets to the heart of others, said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center.

The Ali Centers partnership with Abbey Road on the River, the worlds largest Beatles-inspired music festival, continues this year as fans around the globe celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston fight and Beatlemania. Not only will many of the concerts scheduled for Abbey Road on the River take place at the Center, with festival ticket holders receiving $5 exhibit admission during the five-day extravaganza, but attendees to Give Peace a Chance will also have the opportunity to win two Platinum Ultimate Tickets to Ride to the music festival by participating in a scavenger hunt sponsored by festival organizers. Each participant will be entered into a raffle to win the coveted tickets which includes five full days of concerts with priority seating privileges, access to each and every concert (including Ambrosia, John Sebastian and The Beach Boys), speakers, films and more. Scavenger hunters will also receive a discount code for single day general admission tickets that allows them to attend Abbey Road for only $19.64 (a $10 discount off the regular $29.64 ticket price). In addition, the first 50 people to visit Give Peace a Chance on Saturday, April 5th will receive one free general admission ticket and one free 21-and-under ticket to the Beatles tribute festival. Abbey Road on the River runs from May 22-26, the closing day of which happens to be the same for Give Peace a Chance. For more information on Abbey Road on the River, visit

The Ali Center is located at 144 North Sixth Street in downtown Louisville. Parking is available on side streets or in the PARC garage located below the Ali Center. For questions, please call 502.584.9254.
About the Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the Six Core Principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Centers headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit
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