I was unaware that there is a Delta Blues Museum, but there is and it has a new attraction:
- The Delta Blues Museum has a new attraction – and it isn’t a musical instrument.
“It’s a very vibrant, very entertaining piece,” museum director Tony Czech said recently. “It’s not a guitar, it’s not a harmonica. It’s an egg.”
The “Beale Street Blues Egg” – an 8-foot-tall, 100-pound mock Faberge egg – is covered in paintings of musicians such as Robert Johnson and other famous Mississippians. It’s overlaid with bottle caps, coins and washers collected from Beale Street by artist George Hunt.
“If you look at B.B. King, his top lip is actually a bolt,” Czech said.
The egg will remain on permanent display.
It was one of 25 displayed in front of the Pyramid arena in Memphis, Tenn., during the “Czars, 400 Years of Imperial Grandeur” exhibit.
Back to the museum:
- Formerly the Yazoo and Mississippi River Valley Railroad Depot, and later the Illinois Central Railroad Freight Depot, this circa 1918 brick building has been totally rehabilitated to serve the Clarksdale community and the world of blues music. It has been restored to historical standards with the help of the architect, Dixon Tyson and Associates and the Department of Mississippi Archives and History. The area is approximately 11,800 square feet. Featuring exposed wood timber trusses, the old freight area of 5,760 square feet is a perfect exhibit area for the Delta Blues Museum’s permanent collection of exhibits. The two-story east end was the freight offices, and the ticket offices before the 1926 Passenger Depot was built about 200 yards east of this structure.
Inside the newly renovated Depot, a new elevator was designed to provide accessibility. Original materials and design of reconstructed items were based upon archive drawings obtained from the Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago. Although the street in front of the building had been lowered since the 1920’s, new access and a permanent stage for outdoor events was needed. The theme of the exterior is brick, with sliding doors, a railroad platform and bumper timbers skirting the building. The exterior slider doors were fully restored, but fixed in place to preserve the historical appearance.
Our exhibits assist the visitor to learn about the culture and people of the blues. The exhibits utilize photos … instruments … written word … and local artifacts to tell the story, experience and growth of the area, and music. As visitors walk through the galleries … the sounds of Muddy Waters … Robert Johnson … and John Lee Hooker gently fill the room.
Visitors to the Delta Blues Museum come from all over the United States … Europe … Asia … and the Middle East. All musical forms of popular music after the 1920’s can trace their roots back to the blues. Thus … country … rock … bluegrass … jazz … ragtime … and even rap fans can learn about the origins of this uniquely American music at the Delta Blues Museum.
The rich alluvial plain that is the Delta landscape, and home to Clarksdale, gives visitors to North Mississippi a wonderful backdrop in which they can start their journey through the “birthplace of the blues”. The Delta Blues Museum’s mission is to assure that visitors learn about the Delta Blues, and stands ready to share that knowledge with all who come.