COMPLETES MAJOR $130 MILLION ENHANCEMENT & EXPANSION OF GRACELAND VISITOR EXPERIENCE
PRISCILLA PRESLEY CUTS RIBBON TO OFFICIALLY OPEN NEW, STATE-OF-THE-ART MUSEUM, ENTERTAINMENT & RETAIL COMPLEX
Elvis Presley’s Graceland officially opened its new, $45 million, state-of-the-art entertainment complex, “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” – 40 acres in size — and welcomed visitors from around the world to its largest and most significant expansion since first opening to the public in 1982. The four-day opening celebration features live performances that celebrate Elvis’ incredible life and career, and honor Memphis’ rich musical legacy across genres, including Blues, Rockabilly, R&B, Soul and Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Priscilla Presley joined Graceland Holdings Managing Partner Joel Weinshanker and Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden at the official ribbon cutting to welcome guests and kick off the opening celebration. Watch the ribbon cutting ceremony below.
The largest entertainment complex of its kind — exponentially larger than Graceland’s previous visitor center — “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” enables music fans, pop culture enthusiasts and Memphis visitors to follow the path that Elvis took, surround themselves with the things that he loved, and experience the sights and sounds of the city that inspired him. Guests will fully immerse themselves in his life and career like never before — his roots, his influences and his artistry.
While the acclaimed Graceland Mansion tour will continue to present the personal and family side of Elvis’ life, — including Elvis’ racquetball court now fully restored so that it once again looks exactly as it did when Elvis was last in the Racquetball Building — “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” will tell the rest of the story, exploring the beginning of the incredible music and pop culture explosion that all started here in Memphis, with the greatest entertainer of all time.
“Today marks a major milestone in Graceland history,” stated Joel Weinshanker, Managing Partner, Graceland Holdings, LLC. “While our visitors have always loved Graceland, until today, our facilities haven’t enabled us to share much more than a small part of Elvis’ story. Now with ‘Elvis Presley’s Memphis,’ you will be able to experience all that Memphis offered Elvis, walk through the streets in his footsteps, see what he saw, feel what he felt, live the life of ‘the king.’ No one lived life bigger than Elvis – and now we can bring that experience to our visitors from around the world.”
“Since opening in 1982, we wanted to share more of the thousands of artifacts we have in the Graceland Archives, but we never had a proper space to showcase them,” stated Priscilla Presley. “This new exhibit and entertainment complex finally provides the right venue to make the Graceland visitor experience even greater. Among many new exhibits, we are celebrating Memphis music history, which Elvis was always so proud of.”
The opening of this expansive entertainment complex follows the tremendously successful grand opening of The Guest House at Graceland resort in October 2016. The Guest House at Graceland is the largest hotel to open in Memphis in 90 years and has received the prestigious Four Diamond rating from AAA.
Also making its debut today is the newest way to tour all of Graceland’s new exhibits and attractions. The new “Ultimate VIP” tour experience, Graceland’s most exclusive tour option, takes a small group of visitors on an unprecedented journey through Elvis Presley’s life story and the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Led by an expert tour guide, visitors tour Graceland Mansion and explore all of “Elvis Presley’s Memphis,” including the new Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, Elvis Discovery Exhibits, and an exclusive Ultimate VIP Tour Exhibit. Guests who book this experience also enjoy transportation for their tour in a special vehicle, access to the Ultimate Lounge at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a special photo opportunity, a special Graceland Archives “show and tell” session, options to purchase special merchandise only available to Ultimate guests and a meal with table service at one of the new restaurants at Elvis Presley’s Memphis. Ultimate VIP tours are available for purchase at Graceland.com or can be combined with a Guest House at Graceland resort package by visiting GuestHouseGraceland.com or calling 901-332-3322 or toll-free at 800-238-2000.
The cornerstone of the “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” experience will be “Elvis: The Entertainer,” a 20,000-square-foot museum celebrating Elvis’ incredible music, movie and live touring career. This museum will feature hundreds of artifacts from the extensive Graceland Archives, including Elvis’ amazing collection of gold and platinum records and his stunning jumpsuits. From Elvis’ early days in Tupelo, Mississippi, his first recording session in Memphis, through his film career in Hollywood and selling out shows in Las Vegas, “Elvis: The Entertainer” is the largest, most comprehensive Elvis museum in the world.
The expansion significantly broadens the narrative of the stories told within the Graceland campus and increases the exhibition space, allowing curators the ability to showcase more artifacts from the Graceland Archives. Visitors will now have a total of 15 attractions and exhibits to explore during a visit to Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland. In addition, Memphis entertainers and musicians will perform live at the new complex on an ongoing basis to celebrate Elvis’ music and Memphis music history.
New additions to the Graceland visitor experience include:
- The new Presley Motors Automobile Museum displays more than 20 of Elvis’ automobiles and motorized vehicles, including Elvis’ iconic Pink Cadillac, and also features a theater space showcasing Elvis movie clips focused on cars and racing.
- Presley Cycles showcases Elvis’ motorcycles, ski boat and some of his other favorite motorized toys on wheels.
- ICONS: The Influence of Elvis Presley Exhibit in cooperation with over 25 music artists and entertainers influenced by Elvis Presley, we celebrate Elvis’ status as a music pioneer who paved the way for many of today’s musicians and celebrities by featuring original wardrobe, instruments and artifacts from Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, James Brown, Billy Joel and many more.
- Fashion King Exhibit explores the fashion trends set by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll with his own unique style and custom-made clothing.
- Private Presley: Elvis in the Army Exhibit showcases Elvis’ service in the U.S. Army with photos and artifacts from his induction to basic training in Fort Hood to being stationed in Germany.
- Elvis’ Tupelo Exhibit features the city Elvis first called home through childhood photos and rare artifacts.
- A trip to The Fairgrounds takes you back in time to the 1956 Mississippi-Alabama Fair with an old-fashioned carnival featuring a midway and games.
- The 20,000-square-foot Graceland Soundstage A will play Elvis movies and concerts on the big screen, as well as host live performances throughout the year.
Two additional exhibits will debut later this month:
- The Country Road to Rock Exhibit chronicles the history of country music and its influences on rock ‘n’ roll in this unique exhibit featuring items from the extensive collection of American country music artist Marty Stuart.
- Mystery Train: The Sam Phillips Exhibit, in partnership with the Phillips family and featuring rare artifacts from the Phillips family collection, presents the story of music visionary and legendary record producer Sam Phillips, who discovered many incredible artists at Memphis Recording Service/Sun Records.
The new facility will also feature two themed restaurants named for Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon. Gladys’ Diner will feature classic American fare, including Elvis’ favorite — grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Vernon’s Smokehouse will feature authentic Memphis BBQ, smoked in-house. A coffee bar and ice cream shop will also be located within the complex, along with new retail stores offering an extensive collection of Elvis merchandise.
“Elvis Presley’s Memphis” will also feature Elvis’ two custom airplanes, the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, which continue to be a very popular part of the existing Graceland experience. The iconic planes will remain across the street from the Mansion, adjacent to the new venue.
In celebration of the grand opening, Elvis Presley’s Memphis retail shops will offer special, limited edition gifts with purchase options, with gifts including Elvis lithographs, posters, backpacks and a Pink Cadillac die cast collectible. The shops will also be hosting Dinstuhl’s Fine Candies chocolate tastings and a “meet and greet” with Elvis’ jeweler, Lowell Hays.
As part of the celebration, Graceland will also host its next Auction at Graceland. Online bidding is now open for the auction, which will be held Saturday, March 4 at 2:00 p.m. CST/3:00 p.m. EST in the new 464-seat state-of-the-art theater at The Guest House at Graceland, and online at GracelandAuction.com.
“Elvis Presley’s Memphis” is Phase 2 of the planned Graceland expansion and development. Combined with the $92 million Phase 1 project, The Guest House at Graceland 450-room resort hotel, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. is investing a total of $137 million in the Whitehaven community of Memphis to further enhance the Memphis and Graceland experience for visitors from around the world.
To book your tour visit Graceland.com or explore Guest House at Graceland hotel packages that includes tickets to tour “Elvis Presley’s Memphis,” visit GuestHouseGraceland.com or call 901-332-3322 (toll-free at 800-238-2000).