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GRAMMY Museum All About the Music

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, December 02, 2008, at 12:10PM
GRAMMY Museum Eric Richardson [Flickr]

The Crossroads display is a multi-user touchscreen that greets visitors just after they enter the museum space.

When it opens to the public on Saturday, the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live will join a small list of major music museums around the country: Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Seattle's Experience Music Project. All highlight the history of music.

"We're not so much about the history of anything really," GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli told a media crowd on-hand to check out the new facility this morning.

While information and artifacts from music's past are certainly to be found in the new space, displays at the GRAMMY Museum put a special focus on music's present, giving visitors a chance to experience the creation process.

The $34 million facility sits on the corner of Figueroa and Olympic, part of the $2.5 billion L.A. Live complex.

AEG, developer of L.A. Live, played a major role in making the museum happen. The Recording Academy, which puts on the GRAMMY Awards, was considering New Orleans and Memphis as possible sites, but not Los Angeles. That changed when AEG announced L.A. Live.

"The joint partnership between the Recording Academy and AEG is why this museum is happening," Santelli said today. AEG led the fundraising effort for the space, and has committed to support the museum for ten years as it establishes its roots.

Despite the corporate involvement, Santelli praised the autonomy he has received from both the Recording Academy and AEG in determining the museum's content. That's an area in which he has plenty of experience, having previously served as a V.P. at the Rock and Roll Museum and as CEO and Artistic Director of the Experience Music Project.

The exhibits at the GRAMMY Museum are heavy on interactivity and technology, offering visitors plenty of chances to engage with music and information. The three story space flows downward, with visitors ferried via elevator to the fourth floor before making their way back down.

The second floor features a 200-seat theater that will show visitors a 17-minute film by Ken Ehrlich called "The Making of a GRAMMY Moment," highlighting the lead-up to a duet by Tina Turner and Beyonce Knowles at the 2008 GRAMMY show. After museum hours the space will become a performance venue, hosting a series of intimate performances that kicks off with a January 15 "Evening with Brian Wilson."

Just outside, the Special Exhibits Gallery will feature rotating displays. It opens with "Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom," an exhibit curated by Daniel Cavicchi. The displays explore the 200-year history of music and politics in America.

The GRAMMY Museum opens to the public on Saturday morning. Tickets are $14.95 for adults and $10.95 for children under 17. The museum plans a strong focus on education, and begins hosting students on Friday.

GRAMMY Museum / 800 W. Olympic / 213.765.6800


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