Georgia Music Hall to shut down June 12

The music hall's state-appointed authority voted 4-3 Tuesday to shut down the museum, which has interpreted the stories of Georgia greats including Otis Redding, James Brown, the Allman Brothers Band and Little Richard since 1996. The facility has never drawn well in Macon and has appeared on life support in recent years as state funding waned.

The state authority will maintain ownership of the collection, the majority of which will be moved to the University of Georgia's Special Collections Library for storage until a future direction is determined.

"Although closure has certainly been a possibility on the table all along, it is still a very emotional time for my staff and I," said music hall director Lisa Love in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.

Love said she and a curator would immediately begin working with other institutions -- including Georgia State University, the University of West Georgia in Carrollton and the Tubman African American Museum and the Allman Brothers Museum at the Big House in Macon -- on possible temporary loans that would enhance their exhibits and research activities.

The hall's future has been cloudy since the state, in a budget-trimming mode due to the declining economy, decided last year that it would no longer subsidize about half of the hall's annual operating costs, ending its funding June 30.

In late March, the hall authority rejected four proposals to take over operations from entities in Dunwoody, Woodstock, Athens and Macon. A last-ditch attempt to work out an agreement that would allow Macon interests to run the museum for one year also failed.

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