National Blues Museum to open in downtown next year

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The National Blues Museum in Downtown St. Louis will soon be a reality.

"I don`t want to say I had my doubts, I just know that nothing happens right away in the City of St. Louis," said St. Louis Blues Society President John May. "And the location is just beautiful," May said.

That location is the first floor of the old Dillard`s building at 6th Street and Washington Avenue, in the new Mercantile Exchange District.  Talk of building a blues museum in St. Louis began in 2010, but backers needed $13 million to make it happen. This week, the museum announced it has finally collected the $7 million in private donations, and closed on the $6 million in tax credits needed to strike up the band.

The developer says getting the project started is already picking up the tempo in the area around it.

"Almost as soon as we announced the blues museum closing had happened, the interest in retail across the street and in the district elevated significantly," said Steve Metherd of Spinnaker St. Louis.

There are other museums in other cities dedicated to the blues, but the National Blues Museum, as the name suggests, promises to be the most comprehensive of all.

"It is not just about St. Louis, it is a national blues museum and we anticipate that it will result in many international people making a pilgrimage here to the U.S.," said Laura Chauvin, an advisor to the museum.

The museum will be a composed of interactive exhibits, live music venues and a few artifacts.  Construction is expected to begin within two weeks. If everything goes as scheduled, the hope is to cut the ribbon sometimes in the late summer or early fall of 2015.

May believes the National Blues Museum could provide St. Louis a benefit no one knew the city would need. Music therapy.

"Music has always been the common bound of all the people and (the Blues) is an African-American music and we should be proud of that, and if we have it in St. Louis then we should be proud of that, and bring people to St. Louis and put us in a very good light," he said.

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