Britney Spears Honored By Hometown Museum

Exhibit will feature pop superstar's childhood through her rise to stardom.

KENTWOOD, La. — Pop star Britney Spears' hometown might become a popular tourist destination now that the Kentwood Museum is planning to open an exhibit to honor her in January.

The Spears exhibit will feature three sections — one devoted to Spears' childhood and early family life, another to her years as a member of the "New Mickey Mouse Club" and a third to her life as a teen pop superstar.

Since Spears rocketed to fame, the small town of Kentwood (pop. 2,600) has received "thousands" of phone calls and e-mails from fans wanting to know more about the pop singer's background, according to Sandy Reed, coordinator of the Kentwood Museum.

Spears and her family will donate photographs, items of clothing, platinum records and other Spears memorabilia to the exhibit, Reed said.

"Britney is just really family-oriented," Reed said. "It doesn't matter where she is around the world; she's proud of her hometown."

Reed and fellow organizer Kathy Bryan, a Kentwood City Council member, made plans to proceed with the Spears exhibit in April and will begin organizing the presentation this fall. The museum gift shop will carry Britney Spears merchandise, and a Web site will be constructed to promote both the Kentwood Museum and the Spears exhibit.

Spears' fans have been coming to Kentwood, about 50 miles from Baton Rouge, the state capitol, in search of anything related to the singer, sometimes finding Spears' family residence, Bryan said. The exhibit, she added, "will satisfy fans' interest and help give the Spears family a little more privacy."

A similar type of exhibit, honoring the late Tejano star Selena, is located in Corpus Christi, Texas, at her family's Q Productions offices. Fans can view mementos of the singer's career, including her colorful wardrobe, numerous awards and Faberge egg collection.

"We get hundreds of visitors every week," Elvia Hernandez, the museum's accountant, said. "Most of our visitors are from out of town and plan their vacations around coming here."

Kentwood could be the next hot destination on family vacation planners.

Spears' latest album, Oops! ... I Did It Again (RealAudio excerpt of title track), has sold more than 4 million copies since its May 16 release, and it holds the #2 position on the Billboard chart behind Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP. Spears' debut album, last year's ... Baby One More Time, has sold more than 12 million copies.