The Bob Moog Foundation’s planned Moogseum has gotten a $600,000 boost from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority. The money will help the foundation, which honors the work of the late Asheville resident Bob Moog, move forward with plans for an “interactive exploratorium” of the electronic-music pioneer’s musical and technical achievements. The group hopes to open the museum in Asheville in three to five years, according to Executive Director Michelle Moog-Koussa.
The TDA recently awarded five grants totaling $2.6 million to various community projects. The money, which comes from a 1 percent increase in the hotel/motel room tax implemented in 2001, will also help pay for lights at the John B. Lewis Soccer Fields, a planetarium for the Health Adventure’s new facility, a visitor pavilion in the new Pack Square Park, and expanding the Asheville Arts Museum.
Plans for the Moogseum call for exhibits on the history and science of electronic music, interactive areas featuring such seminal instruments as the theremin, and a state-of-the-art performance space.
In the meantime, the foundation is expecting a beta version of the facility to open at the Asheville Area Arts Council’s Biltmore Avenue offices sometime this summer, as well as a permanent installation on Moog in the front hallway of the Orange Peel. The music venue may leverage a portion of the TDA grant as a loan guarantee to upgrade the facility.
TDA representatives say the grants will boost tourism at a time when other sectors of the local economy are suffering.
“While other funding sources are drying up, the tourism industry is working hard to continue to build this community,” said TDA board Chair Ron Storto. “The dollars we are pledging today are a much-needed shot in the arm during some particularly tough times.”
In 2000, the TDA and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce headed up an effort to raise the room tax from 3 to 4 percent to fund such tourism-based capital projects, but they’ve resisted attempts by the Asheville City Council to tap that same revenue source to fund improvements to the city’s ailing Civic Center.