Motown Museum Plans $50 Million Expansion


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sarah rigg

The management of Detroit’s Motown Museum announced in late 2016 that a $50 million remodeling and expansion project will be coming soon.
The museum, located at 2648 Grand Blvd. in Detroit was established in 1985 after being left vacant for several years when Motown’s operations in 1972 moved from Detroit to Hollywood in California. In the years following that move to the West Coast, Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, welcomed many visitors to the former headquarters of Motown. Visitors begged to be let in to see where the Motown magic happened, and due to the high level of interest from the public, decided to turn the former Motown HQ into a museum.

The current 14,000-square-foot complex, which includes a small theater, exhibits and a museum store, will be expanded to 50,000 square feet during the renovation. Additions to the complex during the renovation will include interactive exhibits, meeting spaces and modern recording studio space, and the museum store will be expanded. (See related article in this issue of Detroit City Limits about what it’s like to tour the museum in its current state.)

In an interview with Detroit City Limits, museum rep Shanel Adams said that “the space will be designed and built around the current Museum space” and will be designed by “world-renowned” architects and designers. Already on board for the redesign are Phil Freelon of the firm Perkins + Will and Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates. Washington DC-based Gallagher & Associates will develop the exhibition design.

"Courtesy of the Motown Museum." This is an artist's rendering of what the new complex will look like.

“Courtesy of the Motown Museum.”
This is an artist’s rendering of what the new complex will look like.

The museum has been and continues to host fundraisers to raise money for the expansion. Ford and UAW Ford also announced a $6-million-dollar investment as the lead donor of the Museum’s expansion.

The official date of groundbreaking and the completion date for the museum have not yet been announced, but Adams said that updates on the project will be available on the museum’s website, www.motownmuseum.org.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in southeast Michigan. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Author: Sarah Rigg

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