Yesterday, I took my parents to the Motown Museum on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit.
With Mom and Dad visiting us for the week, I wasn’t sure what attractions were open to the public. And since Motown gets hundreds of visitors a day from all across the globe, I figured that if even the museum was open, we wouldn’t be able to get tickets.
Boy, am I glad was I wrong!
Yes, the museum tour is a bit modified and the tour groups are much smaller in size, but Motown is back open for business and prepared to give you a safe and amazing experience!
Your temp is taken prior to entering the building, they’ve constructed a pop-up outdoor gift shop so that you’re not crammed into the indoor store, there’s no watching the documentary in the small viewing room, and no singing into the echo chamber. Families/those who came together can stand together during the tour, but must stand at least six feet from all others.
In short, the museum staff has done an incredible job ensuring visitors’ safety!
All that being said, I was worried that my dad (who’d yet to visit the museum) would miss out on some of the magic of the tour. Within minutes, that concern melted away.
Not only did I learn new details about Motown and its iconic members on my third or fourth visit to the museum, I got the surprise of my life when our tour guide announced that we could now take pictures throughout the tour of the two houses!
Ladies, gents, and all those gender non-conforming, as you may know, I’m a bit of an amateur photog. Not only that, I’m a bit obsessed with music, music history, and with R&B and soul music in particular.
So when I was told I could snapshots of all the incredible photos taken by Motown photographer Jim Hendin and of such historic artifacts as Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” hat and crystal-studded glove?!? Yeah . . . I was as pumped up as a diabetic kid in a sugar-free candy store!
Now, I apologize for the glare and odd angles, but we only had a few minutes to take our pictures and were taking turns with the other patrons.
But for anyone interested in the museum who’s yet to actually visit it, I think you’ll get a good idea of just how special the place really is.
Here we go! The following photos are displayed in order as we went through the tour.
As we neared the end of the tour, I asked our guide why Motown had suddenly changed its policy against photographing anywhere but in Studio A.
She graciously explained that up until recently, it was very difficult for them to coordinate with all of the photographed artists and original owners of the artifacts to approve public photography. But with all the uncertainty and civil unrest going on this year, the artists (or their estates, for those who have crossed over) have decided to drop the issue and allow Motown museum patrons the privilege of taking photographs throughout the tour. I was so grateful for the opportunity to do so. Honestly, I think it’s a huge selling point for visiting the museum right now!
To anyone reading who’s yet to visit Motown, I hope you’ve gotten a taste for the magic that is Hitsville, U.S.A. and the Jobete Publishing Office.
I get emotional and inspired every time I step inside the two buildings. When you’re standing exactly where Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Martha Reeves, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and so many others stood, you can’t help but feel as if you’re on hallowed ground.
Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no COVID strong enough to keep me from you, Motown!