The Delta Blues Museum is located at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49, Clarksdale, Mississippi, which is also known as `The Crossroads'. The museum is a place where visitors are able to find meaning, value and perspective through the exploration of American Blues Music. The museum helps to collect and preserve memorabilia related to the blues music that originated in Mississippi.
The museum was established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and became a stand alone museum in 1999. The museum is the oldest music museum in Mississippi and is governed by a five member board.
The museum is housed in the historic Clarksdale freight depot and in 1996 was designated a Mississippi Landmark Property. The former freight area of the building houses permanent and travelling exhibits in over 5,000 square feet of floor space.
A stage is located adjacent to the museum classroom that hosts music education programs year round along with lectures and symposia. The stage also hosts local festivals such as the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival and the Juke Joint Festival.
The museum has a large collection of artifacts such as recordings, photographs painting and musical instruments. Several permanent exhibits are also within the museum such as the Muddy Waters Exhibit which includes a life size statue of Waters dressed in his sharp suit, holding a vintage electric guitar. Informative plaques line the walls detailing his life and music and a monitor plays excerpts from an A&E biography of Waters.
Guitars that belonged to John Lee Hooker, B.B King and Big Joe Williams are displayed along with guitars made by Stella Guitars and were favored by blues musicians. A display is devoted to the life of Big Mama Thornton, Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Burns and Son Thomas.
The Arts and Education program has been set up to teach this musical tradition to students to keep this type of music alive. Students who participate in the program are taught to play their instrument of choice starting from playing the basics to working together as a band.
The museum sponsors educational programs and workshops along with local festivals and events. These include piano workshops, harmonica workshops, conversations with David Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite.
The museum has been visited by many well known artists such as Eric Clapton, ZZ Top and they have helped to raise thousands of dollars to help support the museum. After leaving visitors will have a greater understanding of American Blues Music.