Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The GRAMMY Museum Experience

GRAMMY Museum - Touch TableI'm at a lost for words as I write this post because quite frankly there's just so much to say about the GRAMMY Museum, because there's so much to do and see and hear... So hopefully the following makes sense to you, but sometimes you just need to be there to understand (and really, you need to make plans to be there!)...

When you enter into the museum (tour starts on the 4th floor), the first thing to greet you is a touchtable that allows you to listen and explore genres of music (see the main photo of this post). It's Star Trek meets Apple's iTunes Genius Sidebar, bringing up related genres/topics to the music you have selected to learn. If you can pull yourself away from this almost hypnotic interface of swirling loops, tag bubbles, and music clips (I was there for a good while!), the 4th floor of the GRAMMY Museum is home to "The GRAMMY Music Landscape", "The GRAMMY Archives and Hall of Fame" and "Artist Voices: The Creative World".

GRAMMY Museum - Individual Touch Screen for Music EpicenterMy personal favorites are the interactive exhibits for Music Landscape - Music Epicenters and Culture Shock in particular. Music Epicenters allow you to explore key music in each region across the United States and Culture Shock features major culture changes tied to music over many decades. Both exhibitions require a hands-on approach to navigation and feature music clips and narrative. In addition to interactive exhibits, there are key historic items on display and documentary style videos discussing each genre of music, history, and impact. Before leaving the 4th floor, you get to learn about inspirations and find out from the voices of popular songwriters what inspires them and their work. As a songwriter of sorts, it was interesting for me to see if my methods matched theirs or if it didn't at all.

GRAMMY Museum - In the StudioThe third level showcases Recording Art and Technology, including "In the Studio", a hands-on and visual approach to being a part of the studio, of learning how a recording is made. We often only experience the art of listening to its final product on the radio, CD, or latest greatest MP3 player, so this exhibition enables the visitor to experience key parts in the process of the art. There are also historical panels about how the craft has changed over time and a documentary which features Carrie Underwood's recording of "Jesus Take the Wheel". The GRAMMY Museum wouldn't be complete without the history of the awards, its history of great performances, and its winners - the Everything GRAMMY exhibition is found here as well. Word of warning, once you sit down to watch historic performances, it's really hard to pull yourself away from the amazing artists that have come across a GRAMMY stage. And for you fashionistas, there's also iconic outfits that have graced the red carpet as well.

The final level - Level 2 - features the GRAMMY Sound Stage, Special Exhibits Gallery, the GRAMMY Gallery, and GRAMMY Museum Store. I wasn't able to spend too much time in this section because by the time I got here, my mind was already overwhelmed with everything the museum had to offer on Levels 3 and 4 - and this is only after I skimmed through some exhibitions because of my own time limits. But that only means I need to come back again and again to make sure I get it all. Which may just be impossible because in addition to housing great interactive elements and exhibitions which explore the history of music and recording, the museum itself will act as a living hub of live music and discussion. Its theatre space will be a place for intimate performances and conversations and the outside plaza will be home to performances that require outdoor space.

The GRAMMY Museum opens its doors to the public on Saturday, December 6th and is part of AEG's L.A. Live Entertainment District opening in Downtown Los Angeles.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

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