On Saturday, January 31, 1998, the Delta Blues Museum will be celebrating its 19th Anniversary with a discussion by Ed Komara, Director of the Blues Archive (1-2PM) and a performance by the students and teachers of the Delta Blues Education Program from 2-4PM.
Director Ron Gorsegner says "19 years and still growing!" in anticipation of upcoming museum development in 1998.
The Delta Blues Museum was established on January 29, 1979, by Founding Director Sid Graves and the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Public Library for the purpose of "collecting, preserving and making accessible to the public information, programs and services related to the history and significance of the Delta blues." It was first located at the Myrtle Hall Branch of the Library on Highway 61 until 1982, when it moved its displays to the 2nd Floor of the original Carnegie Public Library. In 1982 the museum might have seen 40 visitors a month. In 1997 it had its record-breaking year with over 17,000 from 40 different nations of the world. It now has an official relationship with the City of Nottoden Norway, which is modeling its own museum/library (called the "Europa Blues Senter") after its Clarksdale pioneer. The Delta Blues Museum also has a sister-city relationship with Rovigo, Italy, another Delta city (on the river Po). In July, 1995, the museum completed a renovation with Funds raised from a $1 million Challenge Grant with the National Endowment for the Humanities. The City of Clarksdale is now renovating the original Clarksdale Freight Depot which will become the permanent home of the museum, and will triple its current floor space. Included in the project is an outdoor stage for the Sunflower River Blues Festival and museum/community performances during the year. The new museum address will be "One Blues Alley."
From 1-2PM Mr. Edward Komara, Director of the Blues Archive of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, will present "No Water Anywhere" as part of the Delta Blues Museum's year-long lecture series on the Blues & the Mississippi River (made possible with a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 1997).
The Delta Blues Education Program will present its best students in a performance from 2-4 PM directed by master blues musicians Michael James "Dr.Mike" and Johnnie "Mr. Johnnie" Billington. The Program holds year-long apprenticeships (supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts) for its students inside of the Delta Blues Museum every afternoon of the week Monday through Friday. There is no charge for enrollment. Apprentices learn to play keyboards, drums, bass, lead guitar, and harmonica. The performance is made possible with a grant from the Coahoma County Tourism Commission.
The Delta Blues Museum is located near the historic crossroads Highways 49 and 61 in downtown Clarksdale. Please call (601) 627-6820, or visit the museum web site at www.deltabluesmuseum.org for more information.