Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music tells the story of Stax Records and other American soul music through videos, vintage musical instruments and interactive exhibits.
Thousands of items of memorabilia help explain the phenomenal and complex story of how STAX Records came to launch the careers of icons such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Albert King, Eddie Floyd and numerous others.
Located at the original site of STAX Records, your soul odyssey starts with the award-winning short documentary complete with rare footage of the 1967 STAX/Volt European tour and seminal WATT STAX concert in Los Angeles.
From the documentary the odyssey continues to an authentic 1906 Mississippi country church which is reconstructed inside the museum with original pews, pulpit, altar table and cornerstone to help tell the story of the African-American church influence on soul music.
Isaac Hayes’ gold-trimmed, fur-lined 1972 Cadillac Eldorado complete with television and refrigerator is a highlight of the museum and one of the most photographed exhibits. Also on display are original instruments used to create the STAX sound including the M3 organ Booker T. Jones played on “Green Onions” while The Hall of Records has some 300 albums and 800 45 singles all recorded at STAX.
You can see Stax Records’ founder Jim Stewart’s circa-1907 French violin, the same one used to help create the string arrangements on Carla Thomas’ ‘Gee Whiz’ and don’t miss the ‘Express Yourself’ dance floor complete with disco ball that continuously shows vintage Soul Train television footage.
The STAX Museum generates income for the non-profit Soulsville Foundation which also operates the world-renowned STAX Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School for almost 700 inner-city middle and high school students with a 100-percent graduation and college acceptance rate.
Look for local performances by the STAX Music Academy and see how the STAX legacy is being preserved by and for a new generation.
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