Whatever you do, don’t touch Isaac’s Ride
It's tough to get through the Stax Museum of American Soul Music without dancing. Luckily, the sympathetic people who run the museum have a full dance floor in the middle of the tour, just in case you need a dance break. My tour guide Tim Sampson said that plenty of people stop to dance in front of the giant screen that plays constantly plays Soul Train.
It could be that the Stax Museum puts people in an instant good mood. I was about two seconds into the introduction movie when I started grinning.
The Stax Museum focuses on the history of the Stax Record label which operated in Memphis from 1961 – 1977. The original building was torn down in 1989, but the studio is faithfully recreated in the new building (down to the slightly slanted floor – the original building was a movie theater before it was a studio).
The Stax museum is very thorough. Instruments, clothes, videos, crazy shoes, records, recording equipment and a 100 year-old church tell the story of soul music in Memphis.
As a native Memphian, I consider myself to know a little bit about our city's musical history but the Stax Museum taught me all kinds of things. I had no idea that Otis Redding was only 26 when he died in a plane crash.
I also had no idea that Isaac Hayes drove one of the most magnificent cars ever. It's tough to describe with mere words. Check out the video:
And Isaac has a special message for anyone (like me) who feels compelled to pet his sweet ride:
If you want to visit the Stax Museum, it's open daily until 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $12 and kids are $9. Complete info about visiting can be found here.
The museum is a little out of the way of other local attractions, but it's not far from downtown (about 15 minutes). Plus, while you're in the area, you can check out the homes of Aretha Franklin, Memphis Slim and other music legends.