A MUSIC museum in Coventry is expanding after reaching a milestone 5000 visitors from around the world.
The museum in the ‘2-Tone village’ at Ball Hill is also consistently the city’s top attraction on website Trip Adviser – after opening less than 18 months ago.
Work has now started on creating three more galleries in acquired neighbouring property dedicated to local music, including an exhibition on the Godiva Festival.
Many visitors come to trace the roots of the 2-Tone era in the late 1970s and early 1980s when bands including The Specials and The Selecter created the UK’s hottest music scene.
The music which fused punk and revivalist Jamaican Ska, satirised urban angst amid industrial decline and promoted racial unity is still celebrated globally decades on.
The museum welcomed its 5000th visitor this weekend, Neil Anson from London, who won free VIP membership and lifetime free access to the museum.
He said: “I was flabbergasted, I had no idea, and thought they were having a laugh. I will definitely be coming again now”.
The museum, run by volunteers, is not exclusively dedicated to 2-Tone, and has memorabilia charting popular music from centuries ago to the present day.
It is the life-long vision of Coventry music historian and journalist Pete Chambers and his wife Julie.
Pete said: “It’s a great feeling to be selling our city and musical heritage around the world. You feel the warmth when enthusiasts visit and we all share our enthusiasm with them.”
He said the new galleries due to open this Spring will also include every 2-Tone single issued – a collection donated by Australian Andrew Downie; and an interactive zone with exhibits popular with schoolchildren including guitars and a theremin.
Exhibits already include The Specials’ first recording session and a platinum disc awarded to The Moody Blues. Many have been donated by local people.
The 2-Tone record label, which also spawned Madness and The Beat, is “only a small reflection of the vast musical talents that Coventry can lay claim to”, the museum’s website claims.
The museum “tells the real story of our musical heritage, going right back to the Roman occupation. We stop along the way at Music Hall, 50’s Rock’ N’ Roll, the 60’s Beat scene and we even have the Lennon Bench, commemorating the famous ‘Acorns for Peace’ event.”
Local musicians celebrated also include Hazel O’Connor, The Primitives, King, Dave Willetts in Phantom of the Opera, Bhangra stars Panjabi MC and Taz Singh and indie rockers The Enemy.
The 2-Tone Village has a café, and vintage and 2-Tone shops.
The museum is open Thursday to Sunday 10.00 am to 4.00pm.