Missouri Division of Tourism
By Amy Burger
Music fans have a new reason to rejoice. After five years of planning and fundraising, the National Blues Museum finally opened its doors to the public.
Located on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, the National Blues Museum offers a comprehensive look at the history of this uniquely American music.
Designed by museum planning and design firm Gallagher & Associates—which also designed The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, the Motown Museum in Detroit, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles—the museum boasts 23,000-square-feet of exhibit space, as well as a traveling exhibition room and a performance space with a stage and a gift shop.
Well-curated exhibits and artifacts chronologically follow the music’s roots in the Deep South to its Great Migration north and its influence on rock ’n’ roll and modern music. In addition, an interactive display helps visitors create their own blues song by adding lyrics and instrumentation at different stations. The final stop is the “Mix it Up” room—donated by blues rocker Jack White—where visitors can add effects and finalize their song creation before having a souvenir MP3 sent to their email.
The museum is not just for learning about the blues; it’s also for experiencing it. Local and national blues acts will perform at the museum’s venue on weekends and during events.