What’s it like to tour Detroit’s Motown Museum?


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sarah rigg

One of the first things you’ll see when you tour Detroit’s Motown Museum, home of “Hitsville USA located at 2648 Grand Blvd. in Detroit, is a map full of push-pins representing all the towns and cities that visitors to the museum call home. It’s not too surprising that North America and Europe are bristling with pins, but there are pins on every continent except Antarctica, representing visits from Russians, Brazilians, Nigerians, Japanese, and people from almost every culture around the globe, a testament to the fact that Motown fever is a worldwide phenomenon.

Photo taken by Sarah Rigg

Photo taken by Sarah Rigg


A tour guide will take you through the museum and start with a brief history of how Motown’s former headquarters were turned into a museum by Esther Gordy Edwards, sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy. The guide will sit you down for a short film that gives an overview of Motown history as well.

As you move through the museum, the guide will point out items of interest, such as the orange couch where Marvin Gaye would crash after a late night of writing songs or an appointment calendar still bearing the handwriting of Diana Ross, who served on the secretarial staff before becoming a singing sensation.

You’ll also get a chance to view a fedora and sparkling white crystal-beaded glove donated by Michael Jackson as well as many of the gold and platinum records earned by Motown Recordings. Toward the end of the tour, you will be able to stand in the very spot where Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops and others recorded their iconic hits and participate in a sing-along with your guide and fellow visitors.

Some elements of the tour may change soon, though, since the Motown Museum is slated for a multi-million dollar remodeling and expansion soon – see the related article in this issue of Detroit City Limits.

Photo taken by Sarah Rigg

Photo taken by Sarah Rigg

What you need to know if you go:

  • Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closed on Sundays and Mondays. The last tour is scheduled for an hour before the museum closes each day.

  • Admission is $15. All tours are guided and take about one hour.

  • Guides will encourage you to take photos of the museum’s exterior, but no photography is allowed inside the museum.

  • No food, drink or gum is allowed inside the museum.

  • If you’re planning to visit, allow yourself extra time to find parking as there is currently no dedicated free lot for the museum.

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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