Located at 926 E. McLemore Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music opened to the public in May 2003. As per its website, the Stax Museum is the first and only museum in the world that is “dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of American soul music.” Situated on the original site of Stax Records studio, the 17,000 square foot structure honors their legendary artists, including Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Albert King, The Staple Singers, Booker T & the MGs, and Rufus and Carla Thomas, who recorded on the historic record label. The museum also celebrates soul artists, including Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Patti LaBelle and The Jackson 5, who recorded on other labels, such as Atlantic, Motown and Muscle Shoals.
Guests to the museum may experience interactive exhibits; take a tour, whether self-led, group or educational; and view images and films that detail diverse aspects of the soul artists’ lives. Also enhancing a visit to the museum is its collection of greater than 2,000 artifacts, many of which are rare. These artifacts include stage costumes, promotional material, gold records and instruments utilized by the label’s artists. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music provides deeper insight to the struggles, accomplishments and contributions of these soul artists and their places in American history and global society. The story of the Stax Records label and, especially, soul music is worth being memorialized by such an institution.