The Augusta Chronicle
The Otis Redding Memorial Bridge and Little Richard Penniman Boulevard are notable Macon landmarks. But it’s at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame where you can experience the significant impact these and other Georgia-bred musicians have had on the world stage.
The museum in the heart of downtown Macon displays a plethora of items depicting Georgia’s rich musical heritage. The 43,000-square-foot facility offers photos and information about artists such as Augusta’s James Brown, Atlanta’s Gladys Knight & The Pips and Macon natives Little Richard, Otis Redding and The Allman Brothers Band.
Rock ‘n’ roll is not the only musical form celebrated at the facility. Georgia’s contribution to jazz also gets the hall of fame treatment.
Big-band leader Fletcher Henderson is from Cuthbert; vocalist Joe Williams hails from Cordele; trumpeter Harry James and legendary entertainer Ray Charles were born in Albany. Mary Lou Williams, the 1940s big-band leader, is from Atlanta, and famed composer Johnny Mercer is from Savannah.
Columbus native Gertrude “Ma” Rainey is considered the “Mother of the Blues.”
The facility also pays homage to other styles such as traditional and alternative rock, bluegrass, blues, classic and nouveau soul, country and hip-hop.
A replica of a church sanctuary notes the achievements of bluegrass-gospel artists The Lewis Family of Lincolnton and Dr. Thomas A. Dorsey of Villa Rica, the “Father of Gospel Music.”
Augusta’s opera diva, Jessye Norman, also is acknowledged, as is singer Terri Gibbs of Grovetown.
Macon was chosen as the hall’s site because of its central location in the state. The three-story facility opened on Sept. 22, 1996, and has had visitors from more than 40 nations.
The main exhibit hall features various instruments, costumes and videos. Interactive displays keep children and adults interested, and the Zell Miller Center for Georgia Music Studies serves as a library and research center inside the hall.
In 1979, Mr. Miller, the lieutenant governor, proposed creating the facility as a way to pay tribute to Georgia’s wide-ranging artistic and musical heritage.
WHAT: Georgia Music Hall of Fame
WHERE: 200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Macon
WHY: State’s official music museum honors, preserves Georgia’s musical heritage.
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday
COST: Adults $8; seniors, students with ID, $6; children 4 to 16, $3.50; 4 and younger, free.
CONTACT: (478) 750-8555; www.gamusichall.com