During the spring 2016 semester, The Delta Center For Culture and Learning has hosted several student groups visiting the region from a variety of higher education institutions, including Mississippi State University, Harvard Law School, Yale University and Emory University.
Most recently, The Delta Center arranged two museum architectural tours for members of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) from the University of Memphis. The students visited GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi on Delta State’s campus and the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola.
The NOMAS design competition team is developing a cultural heritage museum concept for Los Angeles’ historic Crenshaw district. The group of students was sponsored by Jimmie Tucker of Self and Tucker Architects, a Memphis-based firm that has designed the National Civil Rights Museum, STAX Museum and FedExForum.
“This national student competition is requiring our architecture students to incorporate design elements that reflect local cultural heritage,” said Tucker. “These tours provided insights and a back story that we would never have been aware of just by visiting these museums by ourselves.”
“The Delta Center continues to fulfill its mission by providing place-based learning opportunities for students and visitors from around the state, the nation and the world,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “These customized educational experiences about the Mississippi Delta can only happen when groups come to visit us here in the Mississippi Delta.”
Lee Aylward of The Delta Center made arrangements for the students to experience a personalized tour of the GRAMMY Museum with Ross Barkley of Eley Barkley P.A. Engineering and Architecture. Barkley was one of the lead architects for the museum. The Eley Barkley firm is based in Cleveland.
“Mr. Barkley showed us program, concept and schematic design documents,” said Tucker. “These are excellent examples that our students will be able to use to ignite and inform their design process.”
“Ross Barkley’s expertise in bringing projects like this to completion was invaluable to its final outcome,” added Aylward. “The GRAMMY Museum will stand as a testament to his talent and ability.”
During their visit to the B.B. King Museum, the students toured the existing museum structure and discussed plans for the museum’s expansion with Robert Terrell, director of operations. The expansion includes a memorial courtyard for the late B.B. King, known as the King of the Blues and Mississippi’s Secretary of the State of the Blues.
The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop and the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit www.deltacenterdsu.com.