CLARKSDALE, MS (March 22, 2011) – The Delta Blues Museum Board of Trustees, in coordination with the City of Clarksdale, the Stovall Family and D. Carroll Construction, today broke ground on the Museum’s new wing, to be dedicated as the Muddy Waters Addition. Construction on the new wing will be complete by the end of 2011.
”]The Muddy Waters Addition, encompassing 7,000 square feet and set to open to the public in 2012, features a two-story wing that will house new permanent exhibits and will showcase the remains of the cabin from Stovall Farms, where McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters) grew up. Using the museum’s collection of artifacts, the new exhibits in the wing will feature the history of Clarksdale’s blues culture, as told by the musicians and the music they created. Museum Board of Directors President William Gresham thanked the design and construction teams as well as the Stovall family for their generous gift, saying, “The Muddy Waters Addition represents the museum’s ongoing commitment to our mission, honoring the history and heritage of Delta Blues music, musicians and their important influence.”
Since 1999, the Delta Blues Museum has been housed in the historic freight depot, located just across from Ground Zero Blues Club in downtown Clarksdale. The newest addition is designed to complement the depot structure, which was built in 1918 for the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. The museum building was designated as a Landmark Property in 1996. Belinda Stewart Architects are the design lead for the new construction, which will cost approximately $1.4 million. Museum Director Shelley Ritter oversees fundraising for the project, which is being supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the City of Clarksdale, the Chisholm Foundation and private donors.
The Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value, and perspective by exploring evolution of the unique American musical art form of the blues. The City of Clarksdale, located at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49 (“the crossroads”), and the surrounding Delta region are known as “the land where the blues began.” Since its creation, the Delta Blues Museum has preserved, interpreted, and encouraged a deep interest in the story of the blues. Established in 1979 by the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and re-organized as a stand-alone museum in 1999, the Delta Blues Museum is the state’s oldest music museum. The Delta Blues Museum Stage is adjacent to the museum classroom, which hosts a year-round music education program as well as lectures and symposia. The Delta Blues Museum Stage serves as the main venue for local festivals such as the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival in August and the Juke Joint Festival in April.