Chicago is credited as the birthplace of the blues, which is why a museum dedicated to the music genre's history has been notably absent from the city's repertoire of world-class cultural institutions. That is, until now. On Monday, the group behind the Chicago Blues Experience—a proposed 50,000-square-foot facility celebrating the history of blues music—announced that the state-of-the-art museum would open in the heart of the city in 2019.
According to a report from Crain's, the museum would be located at 25 E Washington Street (steps from the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park) and include three underground levels of musical artifacts and interactive exhibits. With a projected price tag of $30 million, the Chicago Blues Experience is looking to raise $25 million in equity capital. The group initially sought to open a blues museum at Navy Pier, raising $40 million for the project before Navy Pier's owners decided against the plan. Sona Wang, managing director and co-founder of the Chicago Blues Experience, told Crain's she expects many of those investors to recommit to the new location.
After the group signed a lease for the Washington Street facility on Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement saying the city's already-rich offering of blues events makes it the "perfect home" for the new museum. "Every year, the iconic Chicago Blues Festival celebrates our rich cultural legacy and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to hear the finest blues acts in the world," he said. "The museum will pay further tribute to the home-grown genre that’s given life to legends like Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, and so many more. Chicago is proud to host the Blues Experience that will help visitors from around the world connect with one of America’s greatest art forms."
Although still early in the planning process, the Chicago Blues Experience shared some renderings of the museum with Time Out Chicago.
All renderings courtesy Chicago Blues Experience
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