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A Look Inside the Grammy Museum

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The new GRAMMY Museum is located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, California in an new entertainment complex called LA Live. The Museum is next to the Nokia Theater and across from the Staples Center.
The LA Live complex, including hotels, cinemas and restaurants, is expected to be completed in 2010 and strives to become the West Coast equivalent of New York’s Times Square. The LA Live Plaza is an outdoor area at the center of the complex which will host free concerts and events.

As you walk on the sidewalk to the entrance to the GRAMMY Museum, you will see plaques dedicated to each year that the GRAMMY Awards have been held dating back to 1959 showcasing the winners that year.

The four-story 30,000 square-foot GRAMMY Museum cost $34 million to build and is affiliated with the National Academy for the Recording Arts and Sciences. Robert Santelli, Executive Director of the museum, says the GRAMMY Museum will be different than the other major music museums like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Experience Music Project in Seattle because it will feature all forms of music — over 100 genres, ranging from classical to folk to heavy metal to electronica.

Your museum visit starts on the fourth floor where you are introduced to a multitude of musical genres. The interactive crossroads table allows you to listen and learn more about a specific genre if you choose to, such as rockabilly, for example.

On the fourth floor you will also have access to the Grammy Archive, a database of information on Grammy recordings from the last 50 years, and you can explore the history of recorded music in several key cities across the United States from the 1880s to the present in the Music Epicenter display.

There are historic artifacts and clothing on display like the white suit that Michael Jackson wore on the Thriller album, or the infamous low-cut “Dress” that Jennifer Lopez wore at the 2000 Grammy Awards show. Other items on display include the Elvis Presley family bible and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper Grammy award.

On the third floor, you will see highlights from the last three decades of televised GRAMMY Award shows. The first show aired live on ABC on March 16, 1971 from the Hollywood Palladium. That year, Paul McCartney made a surprise appearance with wife, Linda, to accept the Beatles’ Grammy award for the “Let It Be” album.

But the highlight of the GRAMMY Museum is the behind-the-scenes perspective you gain about the recording process. There is a focus on famous record producers, like Clive Davis, Berry Gordy and Ahmet Ertegun, and recording studios like Abbey Road and Columbia, as well as engineers and songwriters, reminding us that behind every great artist is a team of people assisting in that artist’s success.

There is also a special interactive experience called “In the Studio” where you learn the recording process hands-on in eight steps. With touch-screen interactivity and film footage, you meet some of music’s most famous producers and engineers who guide you through distinct activities essential in the technical aspect of creating a record.

On the 2nd floor, there is a behind-the-scenes documentary playing in the 200-seat Grammy Sound Stage Theater which takes you backstage to the rehearsals for the 2008 Grammy Awards telecast featuring the explosive performance onstage of Beyonce with her idol, Tina Turner.

The GRAMMY Museum will be open seven days a week from 10 AM to 6 PM. The Museum is located at 800 West Olympic Blvd, Suite A245 in Los Angeles, California. For more information, visit


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