Relatively new to the St. Louis scene, opening in April 2016, the National Blues Museum explores the Blues while celebrating this genre as the foundation of all modern American music.
Located in a renovated cavernous department store building in St. Louis’ downtown business district, the museum retains some of the marble tile floors, ornate light fixtures and huge columns from its former life. The $14-million museum features 14,000 square feet of displays, plus a performance stage in a nightclub setting that hosts local and national acts. The Blues Museum is a real boon to downtown St. Louis.
Few forms of American music are able to claim such a long and tradition-rich and complex music style as the blues. Through state of the art theater, artifact driven exhibits and public programming, the museum provides an entertaining, as well as, educational environment into this bedrock of American popular music.
While other blues museums focus on a single artist or region, this museum will take you on a musical journey that begins with the slave’s arrival from Africa and brings the rhythms that spread from the Mississippi Delta up river, back overseas and throughout the world.
While impressive exhibits fill the new National Blues Museum, one of the simplest is guaranteed to bring a smile. Be sure to push the button on the Chuck Berry display and see an animated Berry doing his famous “duck walk” across the stage.
In the three-minute introductory video, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin explains how the blues music sparked the British Invasion that brought the Beatles, Rolling Stones and other English acts to America. He claims that in the U. K., they were transfixed by the Mississippi Delta and the poetry that came out of it.
St. Louis is the perfect place for the national museum, because the migration of black musicians from the South headed up Highway 61 to St. Louis. Some stayed, and some ventured on to Kansas City and Chicago… and the rest is history.
The museum earned a rave review from one of those enshrined. Bonnie Raitt was performing in St. Louis and got a sneak preview. She told her sold-out audience: “I visited your new National Blues Museum this afternoon. It’s killer.” While there, be sure to visit the Jug Room, a small studio where visitors can play the spoons, shakers washboards or bones – then with the touch of a computer, your face is added to a real jug band performing on a large screen in front of you! And…A Star is Born!!
Please read the complete itinerary and join us on our Interlude to the Gateway City.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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