Fun Travels Across the United States
What to See & Do
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 Mississippi's oldest music museum and the nation's first museum dedicated to the American art form known as the Blues. A 2013 recipient of the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Services-the nation's highest honor for museum and library service to the community-the Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form, the Blues.
For more information on events or programs, please call (662) 627-6820, or visit the Museum web site at www.deltabluesmuseum.org. The Museum is located at 1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale, MS 38614
Delta Blues Museum has announced its participation as a Blue Star Museum, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation's active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage and learn more about their community, especially after a military move. A list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums. Museum director Shelley Ritter says the program holds special meaning, stating, "Delta Blues Museum has participated in this important initiative from its inception in 2010. Many blues musicians served our country and during their service shared their music with the world. We honor these musicians like Honeyboy Edwards, Josh 'Razorblade' Stewart and others in our gallery and are honored to give complimentary access to our active duty military personnel and their families this summer. We are grateful for their service."
"The Blue Star Museums program is a great opportunity for the NEA to team up with local museums in every state in the nation to support our service members and their families," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "It means a lot to offer these families access to high-quality, budget-friendly opportunities to spend time together." Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer.
"Whether they want to blast off at a science museum, take a walk through nature, or encounter animals at the aquarium, Blue Star Museums will help service members and their families create memories this summer," said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. "This fantastic collaboration with the NEA brings our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers."
About Blue Star Museums
Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The program runs from Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 through Labor Day, September 4, 2017.
The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps - and up to five family members. Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military spouses, children, parents and friends, as well as service members, veterans and civilians, dedicated to supporting, connecting, and empowering military families. With our partners, Blue Star Families leverages data-driven insights to curate resources for military families, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and served more than 4 million military family members. Blue Star Families also works directly with the Department of Defense and senior members of local, State and Federal government to bring the most important military family issues to light. Visit bluestarfam.org for more information.
In honor of Mississippi's 2017 Bicentennial, the Delta Blues Museum will present a monthly outdoor film series that reflects the state's rich musical heritage. The monthly series, "Monday Movie Nights: Celebrating Mississippi's Music History and Heritage," will run through September. This official bicentennial project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority. Films will be shown on the museum's outdoor stage, and will be free to the public.
Museum Director Shelley Ritter shares the idea behind the series: "Our goal is to help our audience understand the influence that musicians from our state and the Delta region have had on music and the arts, and this series will provide an outlet where the community can come together to celebrate this contribution. We want to create community support that will ultimately sustain the series as an annual series through donations and event volunteers. We envision the event growing to include bi-monthly films and perhaps food trucks that highlight a different local restaurant each month."
A brief discussion and/or "Question and Answer" session will be held prior to each screening, providing the audience context as to the movie's connection to Delta Blues music as well as background on the importance of the film and its time and place in cinematic history. Clarksdale filmmaker and critic Coop Cooper will facilitate these discussions with a variety of panelists including academic representatives from Coahoma Community College and Delta State University.
Featured films will be tied to museum exhibits and activities, beginning with "Robert Johnson Month" in May and including "John Lee Hooker Month" in August. In case of inclement weather, the films will be shown in the upstairs meeting room of the museum, which is ADA accessible. Guests are encouraged to bring their own seating--each screening will start at approximately 8PM:
June 19 - Ode to Billy Joe (1976)
Based on the song written by Mississippian Bobbie Gentry, the film tells the fictional story of "the day that Billy Joe McCallister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge," which is located within an hour of Clarksdale. Museum highlights will feature an Artist Spotlight on Tallahatchie County's own Sonny Boy Williamson as well as an exhibit on Sonny Boy in the gallery along with a "King Biscuit Time" display.
July 24 - Jailhouse Rock (1957)
The classic feature, starring Elvis Presley, showcases the influence of blues on Elvis' music. The Museum will also feature the exhibit "30 years of the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival" throughout the month.
August 21 - The Blues Brothers (1980)
August is John Lee Hooker Month at the Museum, and the blues legend makes an appearance in this iconic film--as do many other Mississippi blues artists. August 22, 2017, marks what would have been Hooker's centennial birthday. Museum events planned for August include 30th Annual Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival performances and a special exhibit of John Lee Hooker artifacts and memorabilia in the Museum gallery.
September 18 - Cadillac Records (2008)
Loosely based on the story of Chess Records, the film focuses on the record label that gave birth to numerous Mississippi blues artists including Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon and others. The museum will also showcase a collection of cigar box guitars during this month.
About the Mississippi Humanities Council
The Mississippi Humanities Council is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines to serve nonprofit groups in Mississippi. The humanities are the study of history, literature, religion, languages, philosophy, and culture. The Mississippi Humanities Council creates opportunities for Mississippians to learn about themselves and the larger world and enriches communities through civil conversations about our history and culture.
About the Mississippi Development Authority
The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is the state of Mississippi's lead economic and community development agency, with approximately 300 employees engaged in providing services to businesses, communities and workers throughout Mississippi. The agency works to recruit new business to the state and retain and expand existing Mississippi industry and business. MDA also provides technical assistance to the state's entrepreneurs and small businessmen and women and oversees programs that support Mississippi's minority and women-owned businesses. In addition, the agency provides Mississippi's corporate citizens with export assistance, manages the state's energy programs and oversees programs that help its communities become more competitive. The agency also promotes Mississippi as a tourism destination and supports the creative economy and film industry.
For more information on events or programs, please call (662) 627-6820, or visit the Museum web site at www.deltabluesmuseum.org.
About Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield--better known as Muddy Waters--is one of the most powerful forces behind American music today. Muddy was born on April 4th, 1913, in the Delta near Rolling Fork, Mississippi, and later moved to Clarksdale, where he worked and lived on Stovall Plantation. The son of a talented bluesman, Muddy taught himself to play bottleneck slide guitar as a teen; a chance recording with Alan Lomax inspired Muddy to become a full-time musician.
Playing with Son Sims around the Mississippi Delta, in Memphis and in St. Louis, Muddy eventually found his musical home in Chicago, where he signed with Chess Records and changed the game by electrifying the blues. He scored 15 hits in the 1950s alone, effectively creating the sound known as "Chicago blues," a sound that immediately resonated with aspiring young musicians like Paul Butterfield and Johnny Winter. Muddy took his amplified sound overseas to Europe, where his musical shockwaves started a revolution that continues today, through the artists he influenced-most notably Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and The Rolling Stones, who took their name from a Muddy Waters song.
Only at the Delta Blues Museum can visitors "Follow Muddy" and learn more about Muddy Waters' musical journey through an interactive educational feature available online, and only at the Delta Blues Museum can guests see Muddy's actual cabin from Stovall Plantation--the remains of which have been preserved and housed in the Delta Blues Museum's Muddy Waters Addition.
LOCATION: Delta Blues Museum, 1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale, MS 38614
Gone but Not Forgotten
Photographs by Billy Johnson, Founder, Director, and Curator of the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland, MS. These pictures capture musicians in behind-the-scenes action at the annual Highway 61 Blues Festivals. Johnson focuses on the musicians backstage and on stage, capturing intimate moments before and after performing, when the artists are enjoying themselves, apart from their onstage personas as public entertainers. Many thanks to the exhibit's sponsors: the Mississippi Arts Commission, Covenant Bank, WADE Incorporated, Oxbow, Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola, Friends of the Delta Blues Museum, and Hunter Paper.
River Blues and Gospel Festival Sunflowerexhibit
An exhibit of posters that spans the entire 27 years of the annual Clarksdale event. Lots of names, lots of color, lots of archival photos, lots of memories - an eyeful of blues history in a collection of Festival ephemera that are now a valuable record of blues performers and performances.
Give My Poor Heart Ease
This exhibit features photos from the book of the same name by pioneering southern folklorist William Ferris who toured Mississippi in the '60s and '70s, documenting African-Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the authentic roots of the blues. Here are the stories of blues musicians who represent a wide range of musical traditions--from one-string instruments, bottle blowing, and banjo to spirituals, hymns, and prison work chants. The book comes with a DVD of rare film of Delta life in the early ''70s and a CD of music from the same period. Buy from our Gift Shop here.
Shop for great blues stuff here. All proceeds benefit the Museum.
The Muddy Waters Addition, encompassing 7,000 square feet features a two-story wing that houses new permanent exhibits and showcases the remains of the cabin from Stovall Farms, where McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters) grew up. Using the museum's collection of artifacts, the exhibits in the wing feature the history of Clarksdale's blues culture, as told by the musicians and the music they created.
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 newest 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. Belinda Stewart Architects are the design lead for the new construction, which will cost approximately $1.4 million. Museum Director Shelley Ritter oversees fundraising for the project, which is being supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the City of Clarksdale, the Chisholm Foundation and private donors.
The Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value, and perspective by exploring evolution of the unique American musical art form of the blues. The City of Clarksdale, located at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49 ("the crossroads"), and the surrounding Delta region are known as "the land where the blues began." Since its creation, the Delta Blues Museum has preserved, interpreted, and encouraged 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. The Delta Blues Museum Stage is adjacent to the museum classroom, which hosts a year-round music education program as well as lectures and symposia.
For more information about the Museum or its programs, please call (662) 627-6820, or visit the Museum web site at www.deltabluesmuseum.org.
In addition to planned Juke Joint Festival events, the museum officially launched its DEEPER ROOTS campaign for new and expanded exhibits. The DEEPER ROOTS campaign aims to raise $1.2 million designated to expand current exhibits and create new installations. Museum Director Shelley Ritter explains, "Funds raised through DEEPER ROOTS will enable the museum to offer a more enriching experience for our visitors, with enhanced exhibits that feature the history of Clarksdale's Blues culture, as told by the musicians and the music they created."
About the DEEPER ROOTS campaign
Through the DEEPER ROOTS campaign, the museum's permanent collection will be augmented with items and artifacts on loan from artists and collectors from around the world. New and expanded exhibits--some to be housed in the museum's new 7,300 sq.-foot Muddy Waters Addition--will utilize film, video and music. Listening stations and interactive kiosks will offer visitors a chance to hear the music created by these artists and follow its development from Africa to modern day. World-famous bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, a longtime supporter of the Delta Blues Museum, encourages public support of the DEEPER ROOTS campaign, offering, "The Delta Blues Museum represents the heart and soul of the Blues--not by honoring the music industry or any one individual, but by honoring the culture and the musicians that created this art form. I support the DEEPER ROOTS campaign and want others to do the same, to help the Delta Blues Museum tell an even deeper story of the Blues for generations to come."
Juke Joint Festival visitors can learn more about DEEPER ROOTS by stopping by the Delta Blues Museum's information booth. Donations of any amount are welcome-special naming opportunities are available, beginning at the $25,000 level and above. To find out more about DEEPER ROOTS online, visit www.deltabluesmuseum.org or contact Museum Director Shelley Ritter for details.
Natchez, Mississippi, located 90 miles north of Baton Rouge, is quickly becoming a sought-after cultural tourism destination. Attracting over 660,000 visitors annually from around the world, Natchez is known for its culture and history, offering more antebellum houses than any other location in the United States. It is also the Bed and Breakfast Capital of the South, and 'The Biscuit Capital of the World.' In 2016, the city will mark its 300th anniversary, making it the oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi River. Natchez's evolution over 300 years has provided an astounding array of ways to discover and enjoy southwest Mississippi. For more information about Natchez, visit www.visitnatchez.org or call 800-647-6724.
The Tricentennial Celebration in Natchez is officially underway, beginning a year-long series of events to celebrate the city‚s 300 years of rich history, culture and the arts.
To reflect upon the legendary cultural scene, the Historic Natchez Foundation is showcasing "Coming Home: A Tribute to Renowned Natchez Artists," a new collaborative art show featuring the work of five former Natchez residents who have each attained recognition in the global art scene. Each of the artists have a different style of work, from fabric arts to abstract narratives and photorealism, all have been inspired by historic Natchez.
Featured artists include:
Vidal Blankenstein -- Blankenstein's paintings and mixed media images explore the relationship between the human figure and its natural, architectural and emotional environments.
Dale Campbell Fairbanks -- Fairbanks is a narrative abstract artist, painting large scale and expansive canvases that have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and cultural centers throughout the country.
Susan Colter Hollingsworth -- Hollingsworth designs wearable pieces of art, each one telling a unique story through the hands of skilled artisans from cultures around the globe.
Noah Saterstrom -- In addition to his paintings, drawings and animations, Saterstrom has published essays and book collaborations and is the founder and curator of the online art journal, Trickhouse.
Will Smith, Jr. -- Smith has completed hundreds of private and commercial murals that have taken him throughout the country. He currently lives in New Orleans where his work highlights the architecture, history and artistic phenomenon that is found in the city.
For more information on Natchez and to learn about other Tricentennial events, please visit www.visitnatchez.org or www.natchezms300.com.