(from New York Times, October 6, 2013) The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is set to reopen on October 17, 2013, after being closed since last November. This reopening is coming only after a generous grant from the State of Alabama. With ticket sales dwindling at the end of their last operations period, some industry experts are not surprised by the poor financial outlook for the Hall of Fame.
The biggest issue the Hall of Fame faces is location. They are located “more than 60 miles off Interstate 65, the nearest Interstate highway.” By being this far away from a major highway, tourists have to be looking for the Hall of Fame to stop by; it is not an attraction most people would drive 60 extra miles to see. Rodney Hall, current board member of the Hall of Fame, says, “There’s a lot of passer-by traffic, but not a lot of traffic that will stop.” Historically, Tuscumbia, Alabama was a music hot-spot in the 1960s. Located just two hours north of Birmingham, Tuscumbia was a much more relaxed setting than the “face of the resistance to the civil rights movement” that was Birmingham. It is still relaxed today, so much so that tourists no longer stop and purchase a ticket to the Hall of Fame. Only about 12,500 tickets were sold per year in 2011 and 2012, falling far short of the 30,000-40,000 needed to operate on ticket sales alone.
The Hall of Fame will reopen next week thanks to the $150,000 state grant. They will be operating Tuesday through Saturday. Even with this assistance, some say the Hall of Fame should have changed locations to a new city altogether. However, Susan Hamlin, the executive director of the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, disagrees; she believes it does not make sense to move a historical piece of this area just for the sake of tourists.