Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection


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Collection Details

Biographical Note:

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame served as the state's official music museum from 1996 to 2011. Located in downtown Macon, the 48,000 square foot building was home to thousands of documents, instruments, sound recordings, and artifacts representing Georgia's vast and diverse music history.

Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller gathered state support for music culture and industry beginning in 1978, creating the Senate Music Recording Industry Study Committee and the Music Recording Industry Advisory Committee. These groups led to the formation of Georgia Music Week, and the first Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards were presented in 1979. These first awards, called "Georgy Awards," were presented to Ray Charles and the music producer Bill Lowery.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Miller, elected governor in 1990, continued the effort to honor Georgia's music legends by supporting the establishment of a museum. The legislature allocated $6.5 million and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority was created to head the project. The building officially opened in Macon on September 21, 1996 with a ceremony attended by Little Richard, Mike Mills and Bill Berry of R.E.M., the Pips, and Travis Tritt, among others.

The core collections of the museum were presented in a 12,000 square foot exhibit space called Tune Town. This area consisted of several "buildings" and sections bearing themes by genre or era in the state's music history. The Hall of Fame was also home to the Zell Miller Center for Georgia Music Studies, a library and archive for researchers.

In the 2000s the museum began to encounter financial difficulties, with decreasing revenue and low attendance. In 2010 the state legislature voted to cease funding for the museum, and bids were accepted from other cities to provide a site for it. When none of the bids were found to be suitable, the decision was made to close the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in June 2011.

Extent: 2,264 items
Extent:

Related materials in other repositories: Georgia Music Hall of  Fame Collection, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Provenance: After the Georgia Music Hall of Fame's closing in June 2011, the bulk of the collections were sent to the University of Georgia Libraries for storage. Ownership of the materials was officially transferred to the UGA Special Collections Libraries in December 2013.

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