Benefits of museum laid out
by Chance Wright
Oct 04, 2012 | 3207 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the GRAMMY® Museum first opened its doors to the public four years ago in downtown Los Angeles, Robert "Bob" Santelli, music historian and the museum's executive director, had a vision of what he thought the museum should be.

"Music plays an important part in our history," said Santelli.

It was behind that thought that the GRAMMY® Museum was founded and it is that thought that will continue when the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi opens in Cleveland at the end of 2014.

Many Mississippians already know that with out this state, and specifically the Mississippi Delta, there would be no American music.

This will be one of the main goals of the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi – educating through live events and visual and interactive exhibits that will lead visitors through the history and show what role Mississippi has played in developing modern music.

"Visuals and audible arts is a dying form of expression in today's society," said Rita George, deputy director of the GRAMMY® Museum L.A., who was in Cleveland this week as the guest speaker at the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce's Annual Banquet.

"We consider ourselves to be an educational institution in L.A. and hope that the idea translates to this new museum in Mississippi," George continued.

"In our Clive Davis Theater in L.A. we put on education workshops offered to schools and civic groups that highlight topics like: analyzing lyrics, building exhibits, careers in music, the music in war, the music that inspired the Civil Rights Movement, the art of songwriting, careers in music journalism, hip-hop history, the history of heavy metal, women in music, and so much more," she said.

"These programs are sort of our anchor and we build from there," she added. "We build specialized workshops based on individual genres, or even artists, and use these tools as a form of music education. For example we have an educational program that we call 'Backstage Pass as L.A. Live."

She went on to explain that Backstage Pass is a career exploration program that gives students a first hand look at what it takes to get a job in the music industry. Each program consists of a question and answer session with a guest artist as well as a private performance of two or three songs.

Often hosting four or five of these types of educational events every month in L.A., George said that the proximity to Delta State University, the Bologna Performing Arts Center and the Delta Music Institute is part of the reason that Cleveland was chosen as Mississippi's museum site.

"We have nothing with the capacity of the BPAC at our disposal in L.A.," said George. "Couple that with the state-of-the-art music programs offered at Delta State by the Delta Music Institute and Cleveland is perfect place to continue our goal of educating today's youth on the music industry."

The GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi will offer many opportunities to Cleveland and the Mississippi Delta, including high-tech galleries with interactive opportunities, music history and trivia, and, of course, some exhibits of performer outfits and instruments — lots and lots of instruments.