New funding has been announced for the Muddy Waters MOJO Museum at 4337 S Lake Park Avenue in North Kenwood. Located near the intersection with E 43rd Street in the changing area, the Muddy Waters Original Jam Out Museum (MOJO) will restore the former home of the famed musician and the vacant lot adjacent to it. The project is being led by Muddy’s great granddaughter Chandra Cooper with local firm BauerLatoza working on its design.
McKinley Morganfield, Muddy’s formal name, was born in Mississippi and relocated to Chicago where he bought the now 131-year old two-flat in the 1950’s. The structure became not only his home but also the space where he pioneered the unique sound of Chicago Blues, hosting jam sessions in the basement and influencing artists until his family moved in the 1970’s and he passed in 1983. Now the museum will convert that same basement into a new studio and exhibition space.
The recently landmarked home will have much of its facade fixed and restored including the famed front doors with flamingos. Inside on the first floor will be the main gallery and display space filled with art, memorabilia, and stories of the musician and his legacy along with a small shop space. The aforementioned basement will become an educational recording studio with a seating area and further displays, the second floor will be used for museum operations.
The adjacent lot will eventually also be converted into a new outdoor garden with multiple seating areas, a stage, mural, and monumental sign for the overall museum. Though a final price tag has not been revealed, it received over $400,000 in funds last year and now has been awarded $1.1 million by New York-based Mellon Foundation to help fully kick-start construction. Currently no completion date has been announced but it could potentially be by the end of 2024.