Pop music museum debuts in England

TRAVEL SMARTS

April 18, 1999|By Randi Kest

Baby Spice, Billie Holiday, Bob Marley and the Beatles are among those honored at the new National Centre for Popular Music in England. Consisting of four stainless steel drums that each contain 32,300 square feet, the museum opened last month in Sheffield, 165 miles north of London.

The museum celebrates the impact of popular music through interactive arts, education, technology and culture. The opening temporary exhibit, "Strictly Personal," displays favorite albums selected by music personalities from Alan McGee to Noel Gallagher.

Permanent exhibits are found in each of the four buildings. "Soundscapes" enables visitors to listen to new advances in surround sound. "Perspectives" addresses the contributions pop music had on the past, plus its current and future roles. "Making Music" welcomes visitors to play an instrument, design album sleeves, edit videos, experiment with sound effects and try their hand at being a DJ. "Turning Points" celebrates global and historical influences pop music has had on the music industry.

Other highlights: films on the pop music era, databases with information on 800 artists and groups, a cafe, bar and gift shop.

The museum is on Paternoster Row. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission: $12 on weekends and daily in July and August, $9.75 at any other time. For more information, call (44-114) 296-2626.

SIZZLING DEALS AT CARIBBEAN RESORTS

Low season is coming and with it 80-degree temperatures and 20 to 50 percent discounts at many Caribbean resorts. Among the deals during this virtually rain-free period:

*St. Croix's Chenay Bay Beach Resort -- A free sixth night is tacked onto a five-night stay. For visits booked from until July 15, a free three-day car rental is included. Call 800-548-4457.

*Marriott's new Aruba Ocean Club -- Rooms start at $119 a night from April 24 to Dec. 18. Call 800-845-5279.

*More than 15 Caribbean properties -- Resorts operated by the West Indies Management Co. in St. Martin, Anguilla, Nevis, Barbados and other islands, offer discounted packages for three to seven nights that include accommodations, airport transfers, car rental and breakfasts. Call 800-932-3222.

*Tamarind Reef Hotel on St. Croix -- From June 1 to Dec. 1, first-time guests here are treated to a half-price rate of $69 a night for double occupancy. Call 800-619-0014.

*Westin Resort on St. John -- Parents with kids who visit between June 14 and Aug. 13 can sign them up for a wide range of activities at Summer Jammers Camp. Other perks include free meals for children 12 and younger and free accommodations for those 17 and younger staying with parents. Call 800-808-5020.

Georgetown, up and down

A new itinerary has been added to Tour D.C.'s agenda. Starting in May, visitors can enjoy tours of upper Georgetown in addition to those in lower Georgetown. Guided by Mary Kay Ricks, the upper-Georgetown tours will visit sites used by the Underground Railroad, the former home of Alger Hiss and the Volta Bureau financed by Alexander Graham Bell's Nobel Prize.

Lower Georgetown tours focus on architecture, the Canal Era, African-American communities, the Civil War and houses of past and present celebrities.

All tours begin at 10:30 a.m. and last 90 minutes. Cost is $12 a person. Reservations are required; call 301-588-8999.

National Geographic guides

National Geographic has launched a series of softcover travel guides complete with its renowned photos, reporting and maps. The debut books cover Great Britain, France, Canada, London, Paris and New York; future editions will include the Caribbean, Australia, Florida, Mi-ami and the Keys, and Sydney, Australia. Country and regional guides sell for $27.95; city and state guides sell for $22.95. All are available in local bookstores.

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