Georgia's Music Hall of Fame to close after budget cuts

Reuters News
Posted: May 25, 2011 4:40 PM

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The Georgia Music Hall of Fame, a museum dedicated to the state's legendary performers including James Brown, Little Richard and Otis Redding, will close next month due to low attendance and budget cuts.

The museum's governing board voted Tuesday to shutter the Music Hall of Fame in Macon on June 12 and move its collection of memorabilia to the University of Georgia and other state colleges.

"Locally, the people are heartbroken," Lisa Love, the museum's executive director, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The state of Georgia built the $6.5 million Hall of Fame in 1996. Located in the center of the state, Macon has a long musical tradition and was home to Phil Walden, who managed Redding and the Allman Brothers Band.

Richard Penniman, who as Little Richard became famous for such hits as "Tutti Fruitti" and "Good Golly Miss Molly," was born in Macon.

But projections that the museum would draw 100,000 visitors a year proved overly optimistic. It now attracts only about 25,000, Love said.

The Georgia Legislature subsidized the museum but as of July 1 had planned to cut off all funding.

Macon has a separate, privately operated museum dedicated to the Allman Brothers Band that remains open.

(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)