Blues is one of the few music genres considered to be wholly American, and its roots are firmly planted in the rich soil of the Mississippi Delta. Here, too, is where legendary musician B.B. King came of age. Indianola's B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center celebrates not only King's prolific career, but also the significance of the Mississippi Delta to music then and now. Interactive exhibits take visitors through the guitarist's life in chronological order, starting with his boyhood in the Delta and culminating with the highlights of his decades-long career.
The Building: The 20,000-square-foot museum was built on the site of an old cotton gin where B.B. King once worked.
Valuable Relic: Tucked in the section about B.B.'s pre-celebrity life is the Panoram, an early video jukebox on which he first saw the big bands he became so enamored with.
From His Early Career: In the exhibit on what was known as the Chitlin Circuit, you'll find the leather-bound notebook in which King stashed his song charts, meticulously cross-referenced by songwriter.
Other Mementos: Memorabilia from King's life spans the decades, including a quilt from his boyhood home, his draft card, and various iterations of his guitar, Lucille.
Hidden Gem: The museum also includes items from other artists of his era, such as Janis Joplin's handwritten lyrics.
Hands-On Exhibit: Under video instruction from B.B. King himself, visitors strum tunes on guitars.
From the Press: "The ... facility is likely the most elaborate museum in the U.S. about a single living musician, but Mr. King's stature justifies the investment." ? Wall Street Journal
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Dedicated to preserving Mississippi’s heritage, Cottonlandia Museum educates visitors with an array of interdisciplinary displays and collections. Cottonlandia’s permanent exhibits and rooms include the Mississippi Art Collection, an anthology of Mississippi-made art, most of it purchased from the winners of the biannual Cottonlandia Fine Arts Competition, and the Archaeology Room, home to a large assortment of Native American beads and a 12,000 year-old mastodon skeleton that they used to hang sabertooth fur coats. Meanwhile, the Malmaison Room presents photographs and furniture salvaged from the home of county namesake Greenwood Leflore, the last chief of the Choctaw tribe before their removal to Oklahoma, and the Swamp Room lets guests absorb the sights and sounds of the wetlands without brewing their own bog water out of bullfrog tears.