ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- It has been in the works for years, but the construction on the National Blues Museum is nearing its end.
The connection between blues music and St. Louis runs deeper than just the inspiration for a certain local hockey team and the 1914 song Saint Louis Blues.
“This is so important to who we are and what we’re about,” Kim Massie, a local blues singer, told News 4’s Emily Rau.
Massie is just one of many blues musicians and enthusiasts who can explain the relevancy of the museum to St. Louis.
“Finally the blues, its rich, storied history, its unique cast of characters and its mojo has a home we can all be very proud of. This genre of music which has influenced so many artists throughout the last century is so very deserving of this museum,” said Devon Allman. Allman, a member of the National Blues Museum board, is an international touring and recording artist, a guitarist and singer with the Royal Southern Brotherhood, and son of Gregg Allman of the legendary musical Allman family.
Construction crews are transforming 23,000 square feet in the former Dillard’s department store downtown into a state-of-the-art museum.
Architect Kurt Kerns told News 4’s Emily Rau maintaining the character of the building is priority for project leaders.
“That’s the great thing about this building, it existed around the time all this music was being developed and evolving,” Kerns said.
“All these great musicians were coming to St. Louis and through St. Louis and creating this incredible blues scene from all over the country.”
According to a press release, “The National Blues Museum will explore the various Blues styles and trace its history and American roots music from the Mississippi Delta through St. Louis to Chicago, its expansion across the U.S. and internationally. From the experience, Museum visitors will understand how the Blues deeply influenced Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famers including the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and more.”
Chairman of the Board of the National Blues Museum, Rob Endicott, said music is an opportunity to bring St. Louis together.
“Being a player in the blues community, when people get together around a common thing they love, you start to see those divides are less important because it’s all about playing the music,” Endicott said.
The museum will open in late 2015.
Click here to view renderings of the finished facility.