When kids leave the new Eight Track Museum in Dallas, Texas, museum creator Bucks Burnett often hands them an old 45 record, or an extra 8-track tape, as a souvenir.
“I say, ‘Here’s your first record. And they say, ‘Mom, can we play this when we get home?’” he said, laughing.
For a generation that only knows music on CDs or MP3 files, the Eight Track Museum offers a colorful, cool lesson in pop culture, music and history. Besides thousands of 8-track tapes on display, there’s also a large wall showing music formats through the years.
Parents like the nostalgia — showing their kids something from their childhood — while the kids are mesmerized by the colorful plastic boxes that hold music.
“I’m continually surprised by how teenagers and even young kids react to it,” said Burnett. “When you put 1,000 (eight track tapes) on a wall, they’re actually quite striking. They used so many different types of colored plastic.”
The only one of its kind in the world, the Eight Track Museum opened in February 2011 inside a community center in Dallas’ music and arts district, not far from the JFK Museum.
The bands, the Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, were among the guests at the grand opening.
The music played in the museum? It comes from a CD, because Burnett says the 8-tracks — a 45-year-old format that stopped being sold in the late 1980s — can be frail.
Burnett, a lifelong music collector, said some of his most valuable pieces include some rare Beatles eight track tapes, worth about $1,000 each, as well as some of the punk rock music. He started collecting them when they stopped making them in the late 1980s.
“Too many people were throwing music away. I don’t care what type of music it is, it doesn’t belong in a landfill,” Burnett said. “What I can’t use in the museum, I find a home for.”
The Eight Track Museum is open from 2-5 p.m. Sundays or by appointment (90 percent of the visitors make appointments). See eighttrackmuseum.org, email [email protected] or call Bucks at (469) 867-4074 for more information.