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Grammy Museum at night — By Rory Doyle

Grammy Museum attendance exceeds expectations in first month

By JACK WEATHERLY 

The Grammy Museum Mississippi staff expected about 3,500 visitors in the first month after it opened on March 5, said Executive Director Emily Havens.

The number was more than 5,000 – in line with the first-year projections of 65,000 for the museum in Cleveland, Havens said.

“We’re tracking zip codes, states and countries,” she said. “We’ll start running different reports with our ticketing software,” she said of the 28,000-square-foot, technologically sophisticated museum.

Guests came from such countries as Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

“We’ve had high school students from as far away as Kansas to attend and college students from Nashville and Atlanta,” Havens said.

Seven hundred students attended workshops at the museum, whose two-pronged approach is commercial and educational.

One of the workshops featured a trombonist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Havens said.

The Beatles Symposium on April 1 and 2 was a smash, she said. The lectures drew 160 and a performance by Beatles tribute band, the Lonely Peppers – a play on the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album – attracted 200, Havens said.

The symposium launched a two-month focus on the famous British rock group.

As a followup on April 30, Geoff Emerick will lecture on his work with the Beatles, for whom he was a sound engineer on the group’s albums “Revolver,” “Sgt. Pepper’s,” the “White Album” and “Abbey Road.”

The museum had to hit a blue note as it reacted to the deaths of music industry stars and figures during its first month. Slides were posted in the lobby to honor country star Merle Haggard, George Martin, legendary producer of the Beatles, and Frank Sinatra Jr.

TripAdvisor listed 49 reviews  as of Wednesday – including 32 excellents and 13 very goods. “This is a MUST DO for anyone who likes music, entertainment, or anyone who wants their kids to enjoy themselves and learn the history of our musical heritage,” said one reviewer.

Havens did not respond to the question as to whether the state’s pending “religious freedom” law, opponents of which say legalizes discrimination against gay people, has had any negative impact on the museum, such as cancellations by tour groups. There has been an outpouring of criticism from various big businesses and the state’s film industry.

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