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National R&B Hall of Fame eyes Augusta for $10-$50 million museum

This rendering of a proposed museum was provided by the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Foundation.
This rendering of a proposed museum was provided by the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Foundation.(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 12:25 PM EDT
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Cleveland has the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Nashville has the Country Music Hall of Fame. And Augusta could become the home of the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

R&B Hall of Fame founder and CEO LaMont Robinson said he feels Augusta is the right destination for the organization, which held its eighth annual induction ceremony about a year ago in Detroit.

Along with the possibility of the annual induction ceremony weekend moving to Augusta in the summer of 2021, the ultimate goal is to build a 30,000- to 50,000-square-foot state-of-the art interactive museum featuring 3-D virtual reality exhibits and housing memorabilia of past inductees such as Michael Jackson, James Brown, B.B. King, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and Whitney Houston.

The $10 million to $50 million museum would take visitors on a journey of the history of R&B while also highlighting radio personalities and unsung heroes, according to a news release from the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Foundation. The project would have a Walk of Fame with statues lining the front of the museum, a music-themed restaurant, a gift shop and wings highlighting the R&B greats of Georgia including Augusta’s own James Brown as well as Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Little Richard. Other wings could highlight hip-hop and R&B offshoots such as jazz, rock and funk.

The foundation is not seeking public funds but would pursue private donations, proceeds from naming rights and public fundraising drives.

There are even plans for year-round activities and programs to engage local youths, according to the news release.

Robinson has stated: “Our goal now, is to have a face-to-face meeting with the mayor of Augusta and its city officials to get their support for this project, that will bring over 500,000 visitors to Augusta, as well as providing over 250 local jobs.”

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