Whatever You Do, Don't Touch Isaac's Ride: Stax Museum of American Soul Music

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.

Tiffani smiles with a peace sign outside of Stax Museum's sign

Plenty of people stop to dance in front of the giant screen that constantly plays Soul Train. It could be that the Stax Museum puts people in an instant good mood, and Johnnie Taylor said it best, “You Can’t Get Away From It.” I was about two seconds into the introduction movie when I started grinning.

Stax Museum Celebrates 20 Years of Soul, Man

For two decades, Stax Museum has been spreading love, joy, and soul. And there’s no plan to stop anytime soon. Can you dig it?

Throughout the entire year, Stax Museum will celebrate both the present and the future of soul music. We’re talking about a truckload of events. From concerts to live workshops and even a documentary series to air on HBO. 

Upcoming 20th Anniversary Events:

  • May 2 – A Birthday Party to celebrate the official 20th Anniversary of the Stax Museum. Stax will have a party + open house beginning at 1 p.m. including tours, speakers, live music, desert, drinks, and more. Free for public to attend. The museum will show off new artifacts that day: 
    • Text panels, murals, the pink shorts set Rufus Thomas wore at the historic, all-day Wattstax concert in Los Angeles in 1972, the overalls Otis Redding wore in the “Tramp” video with Carla Thomas, the tuxedo in which William Bell performed during “Memphis Soul at the White House” in 2013, and an ocelot and mink-trimmed coat worn by co-owner of Stax during its heyday, Estelle Axton.
  • May 12 - Rufus Thomas Book Event: Book event celebrating Matthew Ruddick’s new biography of The Funkiest Man Alive, RUFUS THOMAS.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this soulful music history celebration and check out the full list of 20th Anniversary events here

 Photo by Raphael Tenschert

Visit The Stax Museum In Memphis

The Stax Museum focuses on the history of the Stax Record Label, one of the most influential music labels that operated in Memphis from 1961 - 1977.  The original building was torn down in 1989, but a replica of the studio is faithfully recreated in the new building, and nothing was left out, down to the slightly slanted floor. The original building was a movie theater before it was the studio.

The Stax Museum is very thorough, with memorabilia on display. Things like instruments, clothes, videos, crazy shoes, records, recording equipment, and even a 100-year-old church that begins to tell the story of soul music in Memphis.

 Photo by Raphael Tenschert

Memphis Music History at the Stax Museum in Soulsville

The Stax Museum taught me all kinds of things I didn't know about Memphis music history. And the people who were so influential during that time. 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:

 Photo by Raphael Tenschert

Isaac bought the car in 1972 for $26,000 after signing his contract with Stax Records.

Isaac loved this car so much that he has a special message for anyone (like me) who feels compelled to pet his sweet ride:

Isaac Haye's car on display with a sign that reads "Don't touch my ride!"
But that's not the only special message from Issac and his friends at Stax. 

Stax Museum Hours & Information

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.

If you're a Shelby County resident, you can visit for free on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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 have a meal at the Four Way Restaurant around the corner or take a climb at Memphis Rox.

Go There:

Stax Museum of American Soul Music
926 E. McLemore Ave Memphis, TN 38106

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tiffani, a diverse serial traveler and content creator who appreciates an exclusive first-class travel experience and a good camping adventure! When it comes to travel, I don't discriminate.

Recognizing the lack of diversity and representation in the travel space over the last few years, I have found joy in exploring new places and immersing myself in the local culture while teaching others how to do the same. "Oftentimes, people don't realize they can do something until they see someone else doing it." My mission is to curate travel experiences that make others say, "If Tiffani can do it, surely I can too."

Build your perfect Memphis meal: Catfish and spaghetti, Fried Chicken and spaghetti, BBQ and spaghetti. Pretty much anything with SPAGHETTI!

The most underrated thing(s) about Memphis: Coming from spending the majority of my adult life in the Washington DC area, the fact that I can do anywhere downtown or mid-town and find FREE on-the-street parking is top-tier. And for whatever reason, if I do have to pay for parking, the maximum I've ever paid was $20. Parking rates start at $20- $30 in DC.

What's your favorite Memphis place to hit: I absolutely love Loflin Yards for a place to hang out and chill. I don't feel bad about inviting friends with kids out when I headed here because everyone loves this place. If I want an elevated vibe, it's a tie between, Inkwell and Beck & Call.

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freakin sweet!
August 19, 2009 2:15pm
I Love Memphis
[...] I visited the Stax Museum of American Soul Music a few months ago, I was struck by how much amazing talent was born within a mile of the legendary [...]
November 19, 2009 11:38am
Keith Robinson

A must visit for all Memphis music history lovers,the home and birth of soul music!

August 9, 2022 9:59am