By Melissa Heintz
Public Affairs Specialist, IMLS
For those who love the vibrant, uniquely American art form of blues music, the Delta Blues Museum is the place to visit. Serving Coahoma County, the museum honors musicians from the Mississippi Delta and their contributions to the global music industry. Blues lovers from across the country and around the world come to Clarksdale on a musical pilgrimage to find the roots of the blues, lean about its ties to pop culture, and hear performances by local artists and blues students. One of those students, Travis Calvin, found his place at the Delta Blues Museum when he was 10 years old. As an alternative to being outside in a rough neighborhood, Travis’s parents enrolled him in the Arts and Education program to give him something constructive to do. He mastered the guitar at the museum, formed a band with his siblings, and played at local festivals. He transitioned into a teaching position at the museum and taught kids how to play musical instruments. The museum inspired him to pursue a career in the music industry. He recently graduated from Delta State University with a degree in music industry studies with a concentration in audio engineering and music business.
The Delta Blues Museum was one of 10 winners of the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that are serving their communities in exceptional ways. Do you know of a museum or library that has made a difference? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 National Medal. Nomination Forms must be mailed and postmarked by October 15, 2013.