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“Tons of Memorabilia, but may be Better Suited for Soul Fans”

Stax Museum of American Soul Music
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Self-Guided Memphis Music Tour With Transportation
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Memphis Music Attraction Discount Pass
Ranked #5 of 155 things to do in Memphis
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, is a 17,000 square-foot museum offering interactive exhibits, videos, vintage musical instruments used to create the Stax sound, stage costumes, photographs, records, and approximately 3,000 other items of memorabilia that tell the unique story, from beginning to present, of American soul music, particularly that of Stax Records and the Memphis Sound.Artists highlighted include Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, the Bar-Kays, Booker T. & the MGs, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and hundreds of others.
Reviewed July 21, 2011

This is a self guided tour that starts with a 20 minute or so movie. It's not the actual studio, but rather a museum where the studio used to stand. There are a lot of interesting stories, and lots of memorabilia, including Isaac Hayes's bright blue cadillac (it was crazy with all the rabbit fur and 24k gold trim!) and we really enjoyed the tour. Since I'm not all that well versed in soul music, there were a lot of performers and groups that I never heard of, so it could be slow at times, but it's still worth checking out. It's a MUST-SEE for any fans of Soul though!

Thank LisaLPharmD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,445 - 1,449 of 1,562 reviews

Reviewed May 4, 2011

Read reviews that said the building lacked soul. Given the site was a run down ruin up until a few years ago, derelict and abandoned, I was very impressed with the building and what the museum was trying to achieve. There is a lot of reading, but hey - there was also a lot going on at the time, so many stories that need to be told. This music has been always present - first loves, first heartbreaks, etc etc. My kids enjoyed looking at the equipment, watching the video and listening to the music and most especially the disco dancing! Congratulations on a wonderful achievement and good luck with your education programmes. You are doing an incredible job!

3  Thank aussie_possie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2011

I took my teenage daughter, who really enjoyed Stax and so did I (even if she didn't know all the artists) she did however know the music. This museum gave you all the background of Soul music. We should have gone to Stax first. If you love all music, you will love this.

3  Thank lbr1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2011

Get taken to school on the history of soul music. See some unusual footage especially at the beginning. Not a lot of artifacts other than footage and some studio equipment. But this is where you will learn the most. I usually hate museums that involve a lot of reading, but I give this one 5 stars. They have a great mission of teaching kids how to play actual musical instruments. Keeping the dream alive. You can't go to Memphis and not go here.

2  Thank LBorden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2010

I had a friend come visit from out of town and we hit several of the Memphis attractions. We decided to check out this museum nearly immediately after visiting Sun Studio. There is no comparison. Sun Studio has a fabulous guided tour which takes you chronologically through the amazing history of the establishment. It is quite a small place, but all very well preserved and intact and you get the feeling you're standing next to the recording artists as they are performing their first recordings. Everything at Sun feels so genuine and puts the location you are at into a very apparent historical context.
Stax, on the other hand, felt like a renovated new space with little historical significance to the museum space itself. The tour began with a video that felt a bit PBS documentary-like about soul music. Then the tour of the museum artifacts was self guided and not particularly gripping. I did not feel that the museum put soul music into a good historical context and chronologically it was very hard to follow. Basically, it lacked a compelling story.

5  Thank dgravano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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