The GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland is launching its first major exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of MTV, the music video television network that inspired a cultural awakening.

The exhibit, called MTV Turns Forty, will focus on the role of media executive and Jackson native Bob Pittman, who led the team that created MTV in August 1981. The exhibit will feature artifacts from music legends like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Run-DMC and Aerosmith.

“I’m pleased and proud that my home state of Mississippi is hosting an exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of MTV,” said Bob Pittman, chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. “Mississippi and MTV are two of the great formative influences in my life, and I’m delighted that they’re coming together for this anniversary celebration.”

MTV Turns Forty will debut on May 14, 2021, and will be on display at the museum through summer 2022. ViacomCBS — the parent company of MTV — and Hard Rock International are supporting the exhibit along with Jon Bon Jovi.

Editor’s note: Mississippi Today board of directors member Tom Pittman — Bob Pittman’s brother — is involved in the planning of the MTV Turns Forty exhibit, and Mississippi Today board member Andy Lack is on the Grammy Museum Mississippi’s national advisory board. The Maddox Foundation, which is supporting the exhibit, is a donor of Mississippi Today.


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Will Stribling covers healthcare and breaking news for Mississippi Today.