Whatever You Do, Don’t Touch Isaac’s Ride
Ed. Note: As of March 18, 2020, the Stax Museum is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since you can’t go in person right now, I’d love to tell you about my experience touring this awesome museum—my favorite in town.
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.
The Stax Museum taught me all kinds of things I didn’t know about Memphis music history. 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 it out:
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 every day but Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $13 and kids ages 9 – 12 are $10. Complete info about visiting can be found here.
The museum is only a few minutes away from downtown. While you’re in the area, you can check out the homes of Aretha Franklin and Memphis Slim and have a meal at the Four Way Restaurant around the corner.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
926 E. McLemore Ave
Memphis, TN 38106
Originally published August 19, 2009. Most recent update: April 2020.