Mississippi's oldest music museum to mark milestone with events throughout 2014
The Delta Blues Museum marks its 35th year on January 31st, with celebrations continuing throughout the year. Throughout the weekend, the museum will offer cupcakes to visitors to mark the occasion. New exhibits featuring artists Jessie Mae Hemphill, Sugar Blue, North Mississippi Allstars and R.L. Burnside have recently been added. The museum will also offer special 35th anniversary exhibitions to be displayed during Juke Joint Festival (April 10-13) and the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival (August 8-10).
Since its creation, the Delta Blues Museum has been dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and encouraging a deep interest in the story of the blues. Established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and re-organized as a stand-alone museum in 1999, the Delta Blues Museum is the state's oldest music museum. Since 1999, the Delta Blues Museum has been housed in the historic freight depot, located just across from Ground Zero Blues Club in downtown Clarksdale. The museum's expansion--The Muddy Waters Addition--was designed to complement the depot structure, which was built in 1918 for the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. The museum building was designated as a Landmark Property in 1996.
Director Shelley Ritter offers that the museum has never strayed from its roots, its mission remains focused on creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning and perspective by exploring the evolution of the art form and the artists who created it. "The power of this place and of the artists who came from it is immeasurable," Ritter says. "Since its inception 35 years ago, the Delta Blues Museum has continued to protect, preserve and perpetuate this unique American music form to live and grow with future generations of musicians."
About the Delta Blues Museum
A 2013 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Services--the nation's highest honor for museum and library service to the community--the museum seeks $1.2 million for new and enhanced exhibits for its expansion, including the Muddy Waters Addition. Expanded exhibits will enable the cultural organization to better preserve and display the history and work of blues artists from the Mississippi Delta, and advance the Museum's ability to "tell" stories that inspire and educate future generations about this important American art form.