Celebrate Motown's 60th Anniversary at the Motown Museum in Detroit
There's a very special anniversary being celebrated in Detroit this year, and indeed around the world: the 60th anniversary of Motown Records. The vaunted label and its associated imprints had hits with and nurtured the careers of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Commodores, Rick James, Lionel Richie, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Four Tops and so many more. Most of these acts were feted on the recently-shown television special "Motown 60: A GRAMMY Celebration," a spectacle that will no doubt continue to wow audiences for decades when it is viewed at home in recorded form.
While this is a special year for Motown, there has long been a special place in Detroit where music fans can delve into the history of the hit-making label; the Motown Museum. Situated in two houses that once served as the label's front office and recording studio, much of the museum depicts things just as they were back in the day, including with a vintage snack vending machine that still has some candy bars in it. Tours here are guided, and the experience begins with an explanation of how label mastermind Berry Gordy started the business with $800 borrowed from his family. Tour takers will hear how eventually Gordy turned the compound into Hitsville U.S.A., also known locally as the "Empire on West Grand Boulevard."
Visitors to the Motown Museum will also see Gordy's flat, a humble live-and-work space that was right in the middle of the action, a gallery of album art and other artifacts like one of Michael Jackson's famed sequined gloves, and the famed "echo chamber" utilized in many recordings. The tour culminates in Studio A where an amazing number of hits were recorded. The studio is no longer used for recording (Motown moved its operations to Los Angeles long ago) but the room has some of the original equipment and instruments still in it, including a piano that featured on many hit records. The museum hosts special exhibits too, and right now an installation called "Reflections: My Motown Story" is on display. The exhibit reflects how the Motown Sound changed individual lives and affected society as a whole.
The Motown Museum has an ambitious 50,000 square foot expansion plan in progress with interactive and immersive educational and entertainment experiences in the works, including a theater and state of the art exhibits.
For more information on the Motown Museum visit: https://www.motownmuseum.org/
For ideas on other fun things to do in Detroit go here.
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