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R&B Hall of Fame wants to build museum in Detroit

A program booklet from the 2017 R&B Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
A program booklet from the 2017 R&B Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Detroiters may get yet another museum honoring the city's music legends: the founder of the Rhythm And Blues Hall of Fame wants to build a museum in the Motor City.

On Tuesday, LaMont Robinson, the Hall's founder, told city council members he's identified a city-owned building that could become the museum: it's a vacant nursing home on West Grand Boulevard,  less than a mile from the Motown museum. 

“We’re looking at anywhere from $3-$5 million [in costs,] so we’ve already started fundraising," he said. "So we just need the blessings of the city."

Robinson asked city council to approve the plan to use the vacant property for the museum. Since the building hasn't been purchased by Robinson or any representatives of the Hall of Fame yet, the council can't officially approve the plan. 

“We’re not looking to use any city money or money from the taxpayers for the museum,” Robinson told the council.

Last year the Motown museum announced it would get a $50 million expansion, but Robinson says the Hall of Fame would be separate.

Cheryl Ruffin, daughter of Temptations member David Ruffin, is the Vice President for the R&B Hall of Fame. She says it only makes sense to put the museum in Detroit.

“Detroit is Motown, it has a history that the residents love. Why would we want to build the museum anywhere else?"

The museum would also house a music education program for kids, Ruffin says. “If the children pick up an instrument, they might not pick up a gun,” she adds. 

The Hall of Fame has already inducted 151 artists since it began five years ago.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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