Long before the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, gospel, and country music captured the attention of audiences around the world, the future of America’s music was taking shape in Mississippi. The blues, which originated in the Mississippi Delta, would go on to influence modern popular music across a wide range of genres. Come explore Mississippi’s collection of music museums. Immerse yourself in America’s musical heritage while discovering Mississippi’s global influences and ongoing impact on modern music today.
Clarksdale is known as the birthplace of the blues and home to the Crossroads where, according to popular (though fictional) music folklore, blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for supernatural musical ability. At the Delta Blues Museum, Mississippi’s blues legacy comes to life with exhibits that include the core section of a cabin where Muddy Waters lived while working at Stovall Farms, a “Muddywood” guitar made from salvaged wood from his cabin, and a collection of musical instruments from John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and many more.
The world-famous “King of the Blues” B.B. King lived in Indianola for many years and never forgot the Mississippi city, returning annually for almost 35 years to perform for free at his B.B. King Homecoming Festival. Today, the bluesman’s legacy is preserved at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center which explores King’s life from his humble beginnings to his eventual success on the global stage as a 15-time GRAMMY winner and multi-platinum recording artist. Several of King’s guitars are displayed, as are his Grammys and even a recreation of his home studio.
Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and lived there with his parents in a modest two-room “shotgun house.” Today, the Elvis Presley Birthplace complex offers visitors a glimpse into Presley’s early years and his ongoing legacy at the birthplace complex which also includes his childhood church, and a museum and events center. Statues throughout the complex document Presley’s rise from an ordinary boy to a global sensation, one of the most popular musical performers of all time.
Though he lived only 35 years, Jimmie Rodgers had an immeasurable impact on the formation and development of country music, earning him widely accepted recognition as the “Father of Country Music.” The Jimmie Rodgers museum, located in Rodgers’ hometown of Meridian, displays his original guitar and other memorabilia of his life and career. The museum’s collection also includes railroad equipment from the era of steam-engine travel, reflecting Rodgers’ work as a rail worker and his nickname “The Singing Brakeman.”
Hello, Cleveland! When it opened in 2016, GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi was the first GRAMMY Museum to be built outside of Los Angeles. The Cleveland, Mississippi, museum’s displays and interactive exhibits highlight numerous GRAMMY winners from across Mississippi, including many blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and country legends. Look for information about traveling exhibits and live performances on their website.