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Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Located at the original site of Stax Records in the South Memphis neighborhood known as Soulsville USA, the nonprofit Stax Museum of American Soul Music is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of Stax Records, the Memphis Sound, and other American soul music labels. In addition to highlighting Stax Records’ former executives, writers, producers, engineers, and session players, artists celebrated in the museum include Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Albert King, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Ike & Tina Turner, Sam Cooke, James Brown, and dozens of others.

After the original Stax building was demolished in 1989 leaving only a barren lot, the Stax Museum opened its doors to great international fanfare in May 2003 and has since received more than a million visitors. The museum experience includes permanent exhibits such as a circa-1906 authentic Mississippi Delta church to illustrate soul music’s Black gospel influence, a recreation of the original recording studio and control room, an Express Yourself Dance Floor with looping Soul Train television footage, a Hall of Records with some 900 45-singles and 300 LPs, and Isaac Hayes’ gold-trimmed, fur-lined 1972 Cadillac Eldorado complete with a television and refrigerator. The museum also features a changing gallery, interactive exhibits, films, listening stations, and more than 3,000 items of memorabilia including stage costumes, photographs, documents, personal items that belonged to Stax Records stars, and instruments and vintage recording equipment used at Stax.

Equally an international tourist destination and community-focused museum, the Stax Museum not only receives visitors from every corner of the world, but also offers year-round, free programming that’s open to neighborhood residents and the general public including concerts, lectures, book signings, films, exhibit openings, panel discussions, celebrity appearances, listening parties, and free-admission family days designed for children. Now an official site on the United States Civil Rights Trail, the Stax Museum interprets a uniquely Memphis story about music, hope, opportunity, inclusion, empowerment, Civil Rights, and African American achievement.