Florida Music Hall of Fame a Utopian Vision

While the specifics of design, theme and exhibit space are best left to professionals and will be determined at a later date, for the purposes of this discussion it is necessary to express a utopian vision of what the Florida Music Hall of Fame & Museum might look like, and what it may (or may not) contain.

Visitors to the facility will enter the Museum through a grand, high-ceilinged foyer. On one wall, they'll be greeted by a collage of the most familiar faces of Florida music: Jimmy Buffett, Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, Tom Petty, Gloria Estefan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jim Morrison, Stephen Stills and the like.

On the opposite wall is a "golden guitar" mosaic, the individual pieces of which are engraved with the names of the individuals, families, companies, organizations and foundations that have donated funds and/or exhibit pieces to the Florida Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

At the far end of the foyer is the "Box Office," a series of typical concert hall ticket windows below a '60s-era theater marquee that advertises "Tonight in Concert," "Coming Soon," or "Tickets on Sale Now!" In the distance - as if coming through the doors of that nearby concert hall - approaching fans can hear an emcee introducing acts and 20-30 seconds of live music (complete with crowd noise) … then the music fades to silence.
Visitors purchase their tickets at the Box Office window then proceed to the Main Gate, where they pass through a traditional arena turnstile and are greeted inside by an usher (docent), who personally welcomes each guest and presents them with their "Backstage Pass" - a lanyard that hangs around the neck. On the rear of the Backstage Pass is information about "This Week/This Month in Florida Music History," as well as a schedule of that day's live music performances, featured music video showings, special events, etc.

Inside, the museum's static exhibits are organized by geographical regions of the state rather than by musical genre, with separate exhibits dedicated to the music which has emanated from Jacksonville & North Florida; Gainesville & Central Florida; Orlando & the East Coast; Tampa & the Gulf Coast; and Miami & the Florida Keys. Within each themed area visitors will find landmarks and features unique to the region. The Miami/Florida Keys exhibit, for example, might include a replica of Jimmy Buffett's original Margaritaville Café, a working recording studio to represent the chart-busting Criteria and TK studios based in Miami, etc

In addition to the permanent exhibits, space will be set aside for traveling exhibits on loan from other institutions - the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame, the Fender (guitar) Museum in California, the Experience Music Project in Seattle and others - as well as for temporary (or "special") exhibits which the Florida Music HOF may produce of featured artists or musical genres. These exhibits will be a means of attracting "repeat" visitors … folks who have previously toured the facility, but will return to see a special exhibit focusing on an area of particular interest to them.

The Museum will feature an interactive children's activity/workshop area, geared toward kids in grades K-8. A variety of hands-on exhibits will be developed to challenge students' knowledge of music history, test their instrumental proficiency, and stimulate their interest in music as both a hobby and profession.

A pair of "virtual reality" booths will be developed for the enjoyment of adults and kids alike … one offering participants the ability to "cut a CD" in a mock recording studio, the other giving them an opportunity to "strut their stuff" onstage in a digitally-created concert setting, complete with 10,000 screaming fans in their face.


A "working" recording studio for Florida-based musicians will also be developed, equipped with state-of-the-art recording equipment and staffed by up-and-coming local technicians and producers. Museum-goers will have an opportunity to see the recording process in action, while promising new artists will have an inexpensive way to put their product on CD and market themselves to the masses.


Also included in the design of the facility will be a restaurant/nightclub, featuring "Florribean" cuisine and nightly live music performed exclusively by Florida-based musicians. The restaurant will have a historical theme (a la Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa or Sloppy Joes's in Key West,) and will be equipped to handle live audio and video recordings, as well as weekly "Live at the Hall of Fame" broadcasts to be aired on radio and public television stations through the state of Florida.

Additional performance and meeting spaces will be designed into the layout of the Museum, to accommodate private parties, banquets, receptions, meetings, organizational functions and a host of special events. It is anticipated that the Museum will be a popular location for public and private after-hours functions, and that this can provide an outstanding auxiliary income stream to support the Hall's educational mission.

One such gathering space will be the actual Hall of Fame itself, where each of the individuals, acts, performers, producers and record industry executives who've been inducted will be enshrined with a display which documents their achievements in - and contributions to - the American and international music industries.

Part of the educational component of the Florida Music Hall of Fame & Museum will be the establishment of the state's official Music Library and Archives, to be maintained by-and-for the people of Florida. This multi-media library - consisting of audio and video recordings, printed materials and music-related artwork - would be housed at the Hall, and available to the public 24-hours a day via the Internet.


Finally, in an effort to keep the music of the Sunshine State "alive" - while also promoting the next generation of Florida musicians - the Museum will be home to the state's largest and most comprehensive "record store," stocked chock-full of CDs, DVDs and cassettes produced by Florida-based performing artists.

Any recording artist with legitimate ties to the state of Florida will be offered an opportunity to sell his or her music at the store, along with the full range of music paraphernalia - fan magazines, newsletters, bumper stickers, books, t-shirts, ball caps, posters, autographed pictures. You name it … if it has something to do with Florida music, you'll find it at the Old Florida Record Store.

With all of that said … this is just the starting point. What the public - and the music industry - wants from the Florida Music Hall of Fame & Museum is what really matters. And through a series of focus group meetings and ongoing research, we hope to develop a concept that will bring music lovers from across the state of Florida - and the world - together time and time again, to enjoy, honor and celebrate the tremendous contributions that Floridians have made to the world of music. Kevin O. Gartland, former Chairman
(A Breif History)

For more information contact: FLMusicHall@Gmail.com Publisher@FloridaMagazine.com

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