Today was the deadline for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame to have raised $225,000 or close its doors.
The Macon museum will stay open for now — the deadline to raise money and plan for the future was extended to Dec. 2, when the state board that oversees the hall was rescheduled to meet.
Executive director Lisa Love said in an AJC interview that she’s “very positive,” but didn’t say how much money has been raised.
There’s a lot of of energy going into keeping the museum open, from benefit concerts to dog treat sales, and to keeping the hall in Macon. An Allman Brothers museum set to open in December could increase visits, and a proposed hotel-motel tax in Bibb County would go toward the hall and other Macon attractions.
But none of this has stopped talk of moving the museum to Atlanta.
The hall opened in 1996, but never got the kind of attendance that organizers expected. It has been hurt most recently by state budget cuts. As the AJC has reported, a 2008 audit showed that it spent more than $5.5 million from 2004-2008, but raised only $1.3 million. Many have argued that it’s not the content of the museum as much as its location.
“There is no doubt that the Music Hall of Fame would have a better opportunity of continued existence in Atlanta-Fulton County,” [Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts] said this summer, shortly after news of the museum’s fiscal woes made headlines. “While Macon is a wonderful city and is the home of my family’s Adams Lounge and the Skyline Motel, it simply does not have the tourist draw that Atlanta has.”
He’s right. Atlanta is the stronger tourist destination, with an ever-growing number of attractions, boosters and people looking for fun stuff to do.
But this isn’t only about us and how busy we keep our tourists. There are big consequences here for Macon, for the state budget and for how the state’s musical heritage lives on.
What do you think? Should the Music Hall of Fame stay, go, or come up with an entirely new way of sharing Georgia music? Tell me in the comments.
Want to go? Georgia Music Hall of Fame, 200 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Macon. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays. $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, military and college students, $3.50 for people ages 4-17, free for children 3 and younger. (478) 751-3334, www.georgiamusic.org