Delta Blues Museum Director Shelley Ritter is announcing plans for a forthcoming “virtual tour” of the Museum, in response to its temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the 41-year-old music museum continues to celebrate “Muddy Waters Month” online throughout the month of April, Delta Blues Museum will offer a web-based “tour” focusing on the life and music of McKinley Morganfield–better known as Blues legend Muddy Waters.
The online tour will be made available to the public for free later this month on the Museum’s website. In lieu of a tour admission fee, guests are welcome to make a donation to the Museum in support.
Visitors may access the tour by using this link: https://www.deltabluesmuseum.org/virtual-tour-muddy-waters.aspx
Produced by Mississippi filmmaker Joe York, the video tour draws upon the Museum’s existing educational feature, “Follow Muddy,” and expands visitors’ experience through new visuals of Stovall Farms and an exact reproduction of Alan Lomax‘s mobile recording studio on display in the Museum’s Muddy Waters Addition, where Waters’ actual cabin from Stovall Plantation is also a focal point.
Ritter explains that, throughout its history, “Delta Blues Museum has grown bit-by-bit into a stand-alone entity with national and international recognition. This growth has been dependent on the tourism industry, which has taken a tremendous blow due to the global pandemic. Since it is not possible for visitors to come to Clarksdale at this time, we are exploring new ways to bring the Museum to them by connecting our exhibits and online educational features to the actual places where key events occurred,” noting that while museums around the world are turning to the Internet to keep their virtual doors open in these uncertain days, only a few are offering online tours at present.
Ritter is currently seeking funding to expand Delta Blues Museum’s virtual touring into a larger series of videos on a variety of Blues-related subjects and topics.
Museum Board Chairman Jim Herring applauds the innovative effort, adding, “‘Necessity is the mother of invention,’ and during these times, we are utilizing our resources at hand–the Internet, our exhibits and our cultural heritage resources.”
As Delta Blues Museum annually attracts around 25,000 visitors from over 40 countries, Herring sees the online tour as a way to grow the Museum’s audience internationally as well as domestically, for those music fans who have not yet had the opportunity to visit Clarksdale in person.
About Muddy Waters
McKinley Morganfield–better known as Muddy Waters–is one of the most powerful forces behind American music today. Muddy was born in the Delta near Rolling Fork, Mississippi, and later moved to Clarksdale, where he worked and lived on Stovall Plantation.
The son of a talented bluesman, Muddy taught himself to play bottleneck slide guitar as a teen; a chance recording with Alan Lomax inspired Muddy to become a full-time musician and, ultimately, a blues legend whose electrified sound gave birth to rock-n-roll music.
About Joe York
Joe York is a freelance digital content producer and documentary filmmaker. His most recent feature documentary, Shake ‘Em On Down, chronicles the life and music of Hill Country Blues legend Fred McDowell.
Joe also produced Mississippi Public Broadcasting‘s “Highway 61” radio show for nearly a decade while employed at the University of Mississippi’s Center for Documentary Projects. He lives in Water Valley with his wife and two children.
About the Delta Blues Museum
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 Mississippi’s first music museum.
A 2013 recipient of the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Services–the nation’s highest honor for museum and library service to the community–and a 2014 recipient of the National Arts & Humanities’ Youth Program Award, the Delta Blues Museum is dedicated to creating a welcoming place where visitors find meaning, value and perspective by exploring the history and heritage of the unique American musical art form, the Blues. The Museum is also recognized as a Great River Road Interpretive Center.
For more information on events or programs, please call (662) 627-6820, or visit the Museum web site at www.deltabluesmuseum.org.