Immerse yourself in music history at the Grammy Museum Mississippi

Executive director Emily Havens shares details on current exhibitions and which red carpet looks are not to be missed

The Grammy Museum Mississippi is one of only two museums in the world dedicated to the Grammys

Courtesy of the Grammy Museum Mississippi

For nine years, Emily Havens has been at the helm of Grammy Museum Mississippi, located in her hometown of Cleveland. The only Grammy museum outside of Los Angeles, its exhibits and artifacts celebrate the power of music across genres, from rock and hip-hop to country and jazz, and spotlight the influential role Mississippi performers played in the evolution of American music. Here, Havens shares details on current exhibitions, which red carpet looks not to miss, and why timing a visit around an intimate live performance makes the experience even better.

Road Trip
“Our newest exhibition is called Highway 61: Traveling America’s Music Highway, and it’s an incredible trip from New Orleans up through the Mississippi Delta, then Memphis and all the way to St. Louis. It tells the story of the genres and artists born along Highway 61. We have interviews, cool interactives, and music by performers like Elvis, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Conway Twitty, and Muddy Waters.”

Fashion Forward
“Our On the Red Carpet exhibit is always evolving; we update it with new looks all the time. It features incredible outfits worn by Katy Perry, Megan Thee Stallion, Charli XCX, and even Taylor Swift’s sheer floral dress and matching mask from the 64th Grammys, which was during the pandemic. But probably the most outlandish outfit is one of our older ones: CeeLo Green’s chicken costume from 2011.”

Courtesy of the Grammy Museum Mississippi

A Rich Legacy
“My favorite interactive exhibit is the Mississippi Music Table in the Mississippi Gallery. You can explore the artists from the state and the lineage between different singers and see why music historians consider our state the birthplace of American music.”

Up Close and Personal
Sanders Soundstage seats about 130 people, and we have public performances, so visitors can plan a trip around it. The sessions are like an oral history, with a moderated interview and then a stripped-down performance. We’ve done more than 200 of them, including with Peter Frampton, Garth Brooks, and Jimmie Vaughan. It’s a lot of fun to come and make a night of it.”

More To Do
The Cotton House is an incredible boutique hotel downtown. They have a great restaurant—Delta Meat Market—that I love for lunch. Their rooftop Bar Fontaine is perfect for a drink and has excellent food too.”

This article appears in the Winter 2024 issue of Southbound.