The State Department has declared a snare drum owned by Beatle Ringo Starr to be a "culturally significant object," ahead of a special exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opening early next month. The legal distinction is bestowed on about 90 visiting museum exhibits every year to protect them from potential seizure in any court proceedings, says one State Department lawyer. There's nothing controversial about this drum; it is standard procedure for high-profile exhibits.
The drum, a gold-plated snare given to Starr by the Ludwig Drum Company after the group appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, is part of a one-item display honoring Starr's 70th birthday on July 7. He is slated to perform that night at Radio City Music Hall. The drum will stay at the Met until December.