Five spots you can't miss
Words by Louisa Martin
Elvis’ Birthplace in Tupelo
Heralded as the “Birthplace of America’s Music,” Mississippi’s history is rich with decades of groundbreaking music. One of the crowning achievements of the state is the Mississippi Blues Trail, a series of markers across the state, recounting the evolution of blues and the individuals who made it possible. A notable stop of the trail is located in Tupelo, Elvis’ historic birthplace. Here, visitors get an all-access pass to the singer's childhood home. The house he grew up in is available for tours and is full of artifacts from his life and time in Tupelo. On the same property is The Assembly of God Pentecostal Church. This is the church where the Presleys attended and what greatly impacted the singer's soulful style. For more details regarding Elvis’s life and his journey through singing the blues, visit the onsite museum. Mississippi takes pride in its rhythm and blues. For more iconic stops on the statewide Mississippi Blues Trail, keep reading.
Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale
For a way to experience the rich music history Mississippi has to offer, plan a stop at the oldest museum in the state, Delta Blues Museum. Located in Clarksdale, the building is in the surrounding delta region of the state, marked as the holy land where the blues began. With over twenty current exhibits, there are ample opportunities to educate yourself of the magic of Mississippi music. There are multiple photography exhibits and dedications to various musical greats. Standouts include “Blues, Booze, & BBQ,” “Drawings from the Rise and Fall of Paramount Records,” and the Sunflower Festival - used to highlight the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival. The museum also hosts various community events and music classes that might align with your visit!
GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi in Cleveland
Make a stop in Cleveland to visit the historic GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi, the only other GRAMMY museum outside of Los Angeles. Current new exhibits include a commemoration of the power of women in music, a salute to Willie Mitchel, and a celebration of Garth Brooks. Despite the present attractions, there are other permanent exhibits honoring generations of past musicians, while still inspiring generations of musicians to come. Notable attractions include a surround sound theater displaying past GRAMMY® performances, various exhibits of famous instruments, an interactive music creation simulation, a gallery honoring the magic of Mississippi Music, original clothing worn on the GRAMMY® red carpet, and so much more. And when I say “so much more,” I mean it. The spot also features multiple educational opportunities, including tours and workshops. With a number of kid friendly and other interactive activities, the GRAMMY® Museum proves to be a music lover’s favorite.
B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola
The inspiring story of B.B. King is a cornerstone to the Mississippi Delta Blues music scene. Located in his hometown of Indianola, the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center includes thousands of rare artifacts, compelling films, and numerous interactive elements. One exhibit, “The Delta,” dives into some of the deep challenges that Riley B. King experienced as a sharecropper and tractor driver in the racially charged south. A number of other exhibits illustrate the timeline of the singer's life. The museum has taken steps to engage the community including summer camps and various children’s educational incentives.
Gateway to the Blues Museum in Tunica
Your guide along the Mississippi Blues Trail would not be complete without a stop to Gateway to the Blues Museum, a museum and interactive center championing the blues. With seven current exhibits, there is plenty to explore. A major standout of this spot is a recording studio where visitors can learn about the basics of blues music and have an opportunity to create their very own song. There are also galleries featuring local artwork to enhance the beauty deeply conveyed in blues music.