Story by Danielle Alexander | Photos by Bill Bowen
Located on West Grand Boulevard, Motown Museum, formerly known as Hitsville U.S.A, is not just a location; history has been made there.
And that’s exactly why tens of thousands of visitors pass through each year, making it one of Southeast Michigan’s most popular tourist destinations.
The Motown sound changed America, and it was founded right here in The D. Pretty cool, right? The museum houses an “extensive array of Motown artifacts, photographs and other memorabilia,” it also provides visitors with a chance to not only stand in Studio A, the exact studio where Motown artists and groups recorded between 1959 and 1972, but also view the restored upper flat where Berry Gordy, founder of the Motown record label, lived with his young family during the company’s early days.
Throughout the tour, you’ll stand in right where greats like Stevie Wonder, the Funk Brothers and The Supremes stood. You can even sing directly into the echo chamber – the invention used before computers and synthesizers – to capture the uniqueness of the Motown sound in live action. Seriously, singing and dancing is encouraged on this tour.
Each tour guide will enthusiastically tell you the inner-details about the Motown legacy. From personal stories, to their interactions with Motown stars or inspired celebrities, their insight will have you feeling like a member of the Motown family.
Currently, visitors even have the opportunity to view the museum’s exhibition called “Boulevard to Broadway,” which offers insight into how Berry Gordy successfully built a recording company in Detroit at a time of racial unrest and limited business opportunity for African-Americans in the music industry. They also can purchase apparel, books and/or novelties at the gift shop – you better shop around.
For more information, including hours, directions, membership options and ways to donate, visit Motown Museum’s website.