Delta Heritage Center looks back at 2014
The opening of a restored 1889 schoolhouse once attended by Tina Turner was just one of the highlight of 2014 for the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. Other highlights included the first Sleepy John Country Blues Jam, an increase in planned tours, and an exhibition award. Overall the Center saw a 19% increase in attendance and 42% increase in planned tours.
Almost 23,000 guests walked through the doors of the Delta Heritage Center in 2014. This is a 19 percent increase over 2013 and largely due to the increased attendance at the Exit 56 Blues Fest in May and the opening of Flagg Grove School in September.
Visitors came from all 50 states. Outside of Tennessee, the top five states most visitors traveled from are
International guests stopping at the Center also increased by nine percent and top visitors came from
• United Kingdom
In January, the Center introduced the first Sleepy John’s Country Blues Jam celebrating Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes’ birthday and welcomed attendees from across the region to participate in a winter acoustic jam session.
The Tennessee Association of Museums awarded the Center its Award of Excellence for the 2013 exhibit Two Sides To Every Story art show in March. Three special exhibits were presented in 2014, including a look at Tennessee’s involvement in the War of 1812 and two art exhibitions.
September saw the opening of Flagg Grove School and the Tina Turner Museum. Hundred of media, fans, Flagg family descendants, city/county/state officials as well as visitors from all over the world converged on Brownsville to celebrate. The event garnered over 485 million media impressions within the first three days of opening.
A review of the year also reveals:
• Information Requests: 1,928
• Hosted Events: 18 (includes exhibition openings, traveling exhibits, festivals, book signings and other Center specific events)
• Planned Tours: 37 (42% increase) includes motorcoach and small group tours
• Community Event Involvement: 4 (events outside of the Center’s scope)
• In-person Media Appearances by the Director: 12 (does not include Flagg Grove interviews)
• Speaking Engagements by the Director: 6
• Volunteer Hours: 1,485
The Delta Heritage Center hopes to continue the forward momentum generated in 2014 with expanded programming in 2015. Plans include skill clinics, symposiums and more emphasis on its music heritage with a new Sleepy John Estes exhibit and an additional music event. Art Party at the Museum will continue with paint parties planned throughout the year. Black History programs and Women’s History Month programming are also being developed. For more information about the events and programming offered or if you would like to serve as a docent, please contact the Center at 731-779-9000 or visit www.westtnheritage.com.
(Photo) Howard and Sandra Elder, of Rocky Face, Georgia, were the first guests to visit the Delta Heritage Center in 2015. While pulling into McDonald’s New Year’s Day, they saw the signs and decided to visit the Center instead. Cameras caught the couple as they stepped through the doors.