Since it was founded in 1985, the Motown Museum allowed visitors from around the world to visit the historic “Hitsville U.S.A.” recording studios, the first headquarters of Motown Records.
Now the museum has announced a $50 million plan to expand out from the original museum and studio, adding 40,000 squre feet of new exhibits, recording studios, a theater, and retail space for visitors.
Museum CEO Robin Terry says other developments in Detroit in recent years have created the atmosphere to go forward with a Motown expansion project.
“The timing right now just feels right,” Terry said. “With all of the other development in the city, it’s providing us with a lot of the added support to make sure that the project happens.”
The expansion relies on fundraising, which will also determine the project's timeline.
Terry says Motown has a global fan base, with thousands of visitors from around the world each year. Motown is synonymous with Detroit, and she hopes such a major expansion will help bring positive attention to other parts of the city.
“Having the opportunity to leverage that (Motown) brand on top of the other great news coming out of the city does nothing more than help and continue the positive discussion about our city,” Terry said.
Detroit is a city with a rich musical heritage, and the Motown Museum expansion may help to reinforce that image to a global community.
More than exhibits will be included in the 40,000 square foot expansion. Terry says she’s excited about opening the doors of the Motown Museum to local students.
“We will be creating some state-of-the-art education space, and even recording studios that our youth can take advantage of and use,” Terry said.
The Motown Museum already has educational programs targeted largely at students in Detroit’s public schools.
In addition to an expanded and modernized museum experience for visitors, Terry says there will be permanent jobs added once the project is complete.