The Grammy Museum Experience comes to the East Coast

Some of the greatest musical artists of all time were born in New Jersey. Now, the brand new ‘state-of-the-art’ Grammy Museum is open to the public at the Prudential Center in Newark, paying tribute to the state’s rich musical history.

A first of its kind Grammy Museum Experience will celebrate and explore all aspects of music, and provide educational programming for youth throughout the Tri-State Area.

Bob Santelli, the GRAMMY Museum Executive Director says “the original Grammy museum is in Los Angeles and now we have one in Newark. We’re here simply because New Jersey is a great state when it comes to American Music History. Also because, Newark is the kind of city that has been long overshadowed by New York and Philadelphia, in terms of its great music legacy.”

Each square foot of the facility is dedicated to musical history and education – featuring artifacts used throughout the years. There, you will find custom wardrobe items worn by Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, original song lyrics of classic songs written on paper napkins, and drum sets played by the E Street Band. Undoubtedly, the influence of New Jersey is instilled throughout the exhibit.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor of Newark Ras Baraka exclaimed, “Newark has always been a town of music. Music is in our veins, from Willie Lyons Smith to Sarah Vaughn. My mother and father made it clear that Newark was a place of jazz, of blues, of funk, of soul, of music and it should always be that way. No matter what we do its music and art that’s going to bring our city back to life.”

The Newark location is the only Grammy Museum on the East Coast. The other locations include California, Mississippi and Tennessee. This museum is also designed to be educational and kid friendly. The hope being that the children of the future will learn from this museum and in turn build the next generation of Grammy-awarded musical artists.

I spoke to some of the students at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and asked what this museum teaches them.

“It teaches me to never give up because I would like to be on one of these walls someday hopefully,” says Newark student.

Another adds, “It makes me see the journey that they had to overcome in order to get here because a lot of them grew up in Newark and grew up in poverty, and take it to such high heights."

There is a comprehensive section devoted to ‘Jersey Legends,’ paying homage to musical heroes such as Sinatra, Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Whitney Houston.

Scott O’Neill, CEO of the Prudential Center explains why this was the ideal location for the location of the Grammy Museum. “This is the home of so many incredible artists. You have Bruce Springsteen about 30 miles south, Whitney Houston of course, and the famed choir right in our backyard.”

He adds, “you have a community that needs some arts and music education and what better place than an opportunity to bring kids here, and learn a little something about the history of music. Maybe, just maybe, a winner will have their first experience right here, in the Grammy Museum at the Prudential Center.”

One notable New Jersey native paid a visit at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Grammy Museum…..

Darryl "D.M.C." Matthews McDaniels, the Co-Founder of Rap Group RUN DMC says, “It brought back memories, I remember sitting at home watching the Grammys, not even thinking that I was going to be able to participate in an event like this or even be associated with an event like this. Being here 35 years ago with just a dream, just a hope, it shows that dreams do come true. Hopefully with this museum, it’s going to bring the generation together."

This museum is not your typical “look but don’t touch”policy- in fact, it is encouraged to be fully immersed in the music. Each exhibit has hands-on multimedia to interact with to allow a greater understanding of the art form.

Santelli adds,“these are the types of things that allow people to get deeper, or to get closer to the music, and that’s really important for us. Its one thing to just show the results of great music, the other thing is to inspire people to become better listeners and for young people to become artists themselves.”

The museum is now open to the public every Tuesday through Sunday and tickets are $7 a piece. Check out the full story that aired on ‘Jersey Matters’ here -

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