In preparation of its December 6th opening, the Grammy Museum, located at Olympic Blvd and Figueroa St. in the sprawling LA Live campus, held a press day this morning, opening its doors to the cameras and the critiques. Here's the quick and dirty tour, starting with the facts: Four floors, 30,000 square feet, tickets are $14.95 (for adults). What to know: The museum starts on the 4th floor. You walk through The Grammy Greatest Music Hallway, a corridor that shows off montages of different music videos, before coming into the main room. A long, interactive listening station offers 150 different genres, while display booths showcase artifacts and historical memorabilia, i.e. Buddy Holly's Gibson guitar, Elvis Presley's Martin-D guitar. Speaking of: What are some of the more rare items in the Grammy Museum? Ken Viste, Chief Curator of the Grammy Museum, emails us an answer: "The Sgt. Peppers Album of the Year Grammy, The Scruggs family banjo on which Earl learned how to play, the Elvis Presley family bible from just after he was born, and "The Dress" worn by J Lo."
Continuing the tour on the FOURTH floor, there's a special section that looks at location, ie, notable cities that saw interesting musical developments. Additionally, there are displays of the famous outfits (red carpet and otherwise) worn by musicians--you'll find the white Hugo Boss suit worn by Michael Jackson on the cover of his 1982 Thriller album, and an After Six dark suit worn by Johnny Cash circa 1955. Judging from the size of his suit, Jackson is a very thin man.
Moving on to THIRD floor: There are eight music pods, ie, interior booths that allow visitors an inside peek/interactive look at the music-making process. You can listen to interviews with producers/musicians like Jimmy Jam and DJ Paul Oakenfeld, and also mix tracks, play with samples, and perform other producer work. Additionally, exhibitions show off the history of the Grammy Awards, while video screens showcase famous video performances. There’s also the red carpet fashion exhibition on this floor.
On to the SECOND floor: The floors holds the rotating exhibition space--the current exhibition is “Songs of Conscience, Songs of Freedom,” an exhibition that looks at the connection between music and politics. Included in the display: An 1848 edition of the Anti-Slavery Harp, an abolitionist songbook, handwritten lyrics by Patti Smith, as well as films by documentarian Jim Brown. In terms of wishing things had been different, this floor could have been a little bigger/had more more material. Overall, this portion of the museum feels a bit like an afterthought.
But moving on. Also on this floor: A 200-seat theater that'll host special events (for instance, “An Evening With" is the museum's rotating lecture series; one of the first events will feature a lecture with Brian Wilson). Additionally, over the next year, the Sound Stage will offer music critic roundtables, curated concert series and film series, and many other events. Additionally there are youth education series (classes include “Film composing; Music Business 101, How to Be a DJ”. In terms of a panels and events, it seems like there will be many interesting discussions taking place in this room--it may turn out to be our favorite part of the museum.
Also on the second floor: A gift shop.
The FIRST FLOOR is really just the entryway. Coat check, information desk, etc.
More to come: A follow up post will feature a chat with the chief designer of the museum.