Clarksdale in Coahoma County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Delta Blues Museum
The Delta Blues Museum, the world's first museum devoted to blues, was founded on January 31, 1979, by Sid Graves, director of Clarksdale's Carnegie Public Library. Originally housed in a room of the Myrtle Hall Elementary School, the museum moved to the library in 1981 and to this location, a former railroad depot, in 1999. Exhibits here have paid long overdue tribute to the history of the blues, while the museum's education program has trained many young musicians to carry the blues into the future.
The Delta Blues Museum (DBM) developed into a world-renowned attraction and a major component in building the blues tourism industry in Mississippi, but in the beginning the DBM attracted only about one visitor a month. Library director Sid Graves (1946-2005) established the museum at the Myrtle Hall branch library (later annexed by the Myrtle Hall III school) at 1109 N. State Street, and took the small collection of exhibits home with him each night for security. The visitor count rose as the museum relocated to the main library at 114 Delta Avenue in 1981, expanded into its own adjoining
The rock band ZZ Top played a key role in raising funds for the museum in 1988. The band's guitarist, Billy Gibbons, had some “Muddywood” guitars constructed from fallen boards he found at the house where Muddy Waters once lived on the Stovall plantation. One of the guitars was displayed at Hard Rock Cafes around the world and became a permanent exhibit at the museum. With the cooperation of the Stovall family, the house was later disassembled, restored, taken on tour by the House of Blues nightclub chain, and eventually moved to the museum. ZZ Top and many other rock and blues bands performed at benefits for the DBM over the years. A Muddy Waters wing was added to the museum in 2012. Other blues artists featured in DBM displays have included Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Big Joe Williams, Little Milton, B.B. King, Big Mama Thornton, Charlie Musselwhite, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Ike Turner, and Bo Diddley. Noted
The DBM made important commitments to perpetuating the blues in addition to documenting its vast historical legacy. Local bluesmen Johnnie Billington, Michael “Dr. Mike” James, and Big Jack Johnson were among the instructors in the first Delta Blues Education Program, which began in 1992. Many students in the program have performed in festivals and concerts, both locally and on tour.
Erected 2013 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 170.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail 🎶 series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 31, 1979.
Location. 34° 12.021′ N, 90° 34.401′ W. Marker is in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in Coahoma County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Blues AlleyTouch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale MS 38614, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival (within shouting distance of this marker); Ike Turner (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Wade Walton (about 500 feet away); W. C. Handy (about 500 feet away); WROX Radio (about 600 feet away); Sam Cooke (about 700 feet away); The New World (about 800 feet away); First Baptist M.B. Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clarksdale.
Also see . . .
1. Delta Blues Museum website. (Submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on the Delta Blues Museum. (Submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 366 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.