CLEVELAND — The Grammy Museum Mississippi officially opened its doors on Saturday, March 5. As soon as the red carpet was rolled out and the ribbon cut, excitement filled the air. Students ran to enter the dazzling world of the Grammys.
“It’s a great day for the Delta,” Bob Santelli, executive director of the Los Angeles Grammy Museum said. “The expansion of the Grammy Museum brand and mission to Mississippi is indeed a fulfillment of a dream of the Grammy Museum and the Cleveland music foundation.”
This almost $20 million project is the only official Grammy museum outside of Los Angeles. The University of Mississippi Gospel Choir performed during the grand opening celebration.
The moment you walk in, you are immersed into the glamorous world of the music industry. Glittering ballgowns, feather headdresses and costumes transport you to the red carpet. As you walk through the museum, you are slowly introduced to every aspect of the Grammy experience.
Mississippi is known as the ‘Birthplace of America’s Music.” Musical legends like Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Buffet — just to name a few — are from Mississippi. Mississippi also has more Grammy winners per capita than any other state.The Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi serves as a way to honor the past, revel in the present and inspire the future for music in Mississippi.
“This institution and this museum (are) going to provide many educational opportunities for the students in our community, in our state, in our region for so many years,” said Emily Havens, executive director of the Grammy Museum Mississippi. “It will truly be life changing.”
Staying true to the museum’s mission, students were the first to enter. Students from various middle and high schools came to witness the opening. Everything from Grammy trophies, guitars used in performances and even fashion from the
Grammy red carpet enthralled them.
“I want Jennifer Lopez’s sparkly dress. Maybe I can ask for it for my birthday. It’s in a week,” said Darbie Miles, a sixth grader from Hayes Cooper Elementary School in Merigold, Mississippi.
The state-of-the-art technology allows students to experience what it is like to go through the process of creating their own music. There are mini recording studios where you can write, record and produce your own music. The lines grew as more and more students sang their heart out into the microphone for all to hear.
“They’ll see the outfits. They’ll see the guitars,” Santelli said. “They will do the interactives, and all of that is wonderful, but in the end what we want is we want to make an impact on young people.”
“I now want to learn how to play the guitar. My dad was in a band in high school, and maybe I could be like him,” said Hank Reed, a sixth grader from Hayes Cooper Elementary School.
The Grammy Museum Mississippi will be a resource for teachers and students for many years to come. The facility and its advanced technology will elevate the quality of Mississippi’s music education.
“There is so much rich musical history in the Delta already; this museum adds to that and is going to impact future generations,” Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts said. “All of the children that were able to come today, I hope they get some musical inspiration as well.”
By stepping into the museum, visitors are able to begin their own journey to get their very own Grammy.
“Our goal is in 15 years, maybe even 10, is to have someone on that Grammy stage, and when they are asked where they got started and how they won their Grammy, we want them to say they got their start right here in Cleveland, Mississippi, at the Grammy Museum of Mississippi,” Emily Havens, executive director of the Grammy Museum Mississippi, said.
What a great day for the Delta. The opening of the Grammy Museum Mississippi was the opening of a door for students in Mississippi. The museum stands to inspire and educate the state’s students for many years to come.
– Taylor Cook