Executives, audio enthusiasts plan pilgrimage to Hope for museum fete for eccentric Klipsch founder

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 1,137 views 

Top executives with publicly-traded Voxx International Corp. will travel to southwest Arkansas Thursday (April 27) for a ceremony to transfer the museum and archives of Hope native and audio pioneer Paul Klipsch to a recently formed nonprofit group that will house the historic treasures.

The original Klipsch Museum of Audio History has been a fixture in Hope since 1979 and includes the original Klipsch factory, its surrounding property, and the archives of eccentric founder Paul W. Klipsch, who died in 2002. KHMA is the recently created nonprofit dedicated to displaying and preserve the ideas, research, designs, documents, accomplishment, and loudspeakers from the archives of the Hope inventor, as well as to host educational activities and events.

“This is an important and necessary step in our quest to preserve the legacy of Paul W. Klipsch who is one of the founding fathers of the audio industry,” said Klipsch CEO Paul Jacobs. “His genius has stood the test of time, serving as an inspiration to myself and countless others. As we look to the future, it is important that generations to come have the opportunity to learn from his incredible work.”

Klipsch, which was founded in Hope, Arkansas in 1946 as Klipsch and Associates, has been in continuous production at the company’s distribution and manufacturing plant in Hempstead County. Klipsch and his company became famous for its flagship, hand-built loudspeaker, known as the Klipschorn or K-Horn. Klipsch’s said his goal in producing the original corner speakers was to bring orchestra quality sound into the home.

In 1989, the company was purchased by Fred Klipsch, a second cousin of the unconventional Arkansas inventor, and he moved its corporate headquarters and business operations to Indianapolis, Ind. In 2011, Klipsch Group Inc. was purchased by publicly-traded Audiovox Corp. for $166 million, and Fred Klipsch was named to Audiovox’s board of directors. Following the deal, Jacobs was appointed as CEO of the company.

Later in 2001, the company broke ground on a 46,000 distribution plant just east of Hope on Arkansas Highway 32 that created more than 100 new jobs. That facility included a dedicated manufacturing area that supplied a complete line of professional grade loudspeakers to world-renowned entertainment facilities such as Hard Rock Cafes, Planet Hollywood restaurants, Regal Cinemas, NCAA Hall of Champions, museums, churches, sporting complexes and conference centers worldwide.

The company has also expanded into other speaker and wireless productions, including high-quality headphones and earbuds. In addition to Klipschorn, the company’s speaker line-up, designed by the founder and still in production today, includes the Heresy, Rebel, Shorthorn, Cornwall, La Scala and Belle Klipsch.

Jacobs and Audiovox Founder and Chairman John Shalam will speak at the Hope ceremony, along with Hope Mayor Steve Montgomery. Besides housing the vast archives and preserving the legacy of Klipsch, company officials said the foundation will also expand the museum’s reach and impact by implementing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs on the local, state and national levels.

The ceremony in Hope will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will also kick off the annual Klipsch Pilgrimage, a gathering for Klipsch audio enthusiasts from all over the country. Organizers of the pilgrimage to Hope say they are expecting a record turnout for the event.