The $20 million project opens its doors on March 5 with a Beatles exhibition.
Cleveland, Ohio, has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now Cleveland, Miss. -- two hours from Memphis and Jackson -- has the Grammy Museum Mississippi. Owned and operated by the Cleveland Music Foundation and curated by Los Angeles' 7-year-old Grammy Museum, the 28,000-square-foot space opens March 5 with a traveling exhibit, Ladies & Gentlemen... The Beatles!, and 10 permanent collections. Housed on the Delta State University campus, the museum will serve as an educational attraction, as well as a tourist destination, drawing patrons to the area, which is known for such native sons and daughters as Howlin' Wolf, Elvis Presley, Faith Hill and Ike Turner. With the Delta Blues Museum, the B.B. King Museum and other blues-devoted attractions nearby, Grammy Museum executive director Robert Santelli emphasizes that "Mississippi is well stocked"; it doesn't need a new house of blues. Instead, the role of the museum, built for about $20 million, is to "contemporize the state's relationship with popular music today. There has never been a museum like this in the South."
Cleveland was selected specifically because of Delta State. "We wanted to be next to a university," Santelli says. "The museum serves as a resource to DSU and K-12 teachers throughout Mississippi. At first, we're going to have far more students than tourists, but the [goal] is for it to become self-sufficient and self-sustaining." Ideally, the Mississippi location will also begin to develop its own exhibits, such as on the Mississippi Delta or on local bluesmen.
Santelli adds that the Grammy Museum hopes to roll out two more museums over the next five years, although no cities have been earmarked for future sites.