Stax Museum of American Soul Music
926 E McLemore Avenue
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a museum located in Memphis, Tennessee, the former location of Stax Records. It is operated by the Soulsville Foundation, which also operates the adjacent Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School.
After Stax Records was forced into involuntary bankruptcy and closed in 1976, the Stax studio was sold by the Union Planters Bank to Southside Church of God in Christ, located nearby on McLemore Avenue. Except for a brief time when it was used as a soup kitchen, it was allowed to deteriorate so it was torn down in 1989.
The neighborhood had deteriorated badly and by 1998, a group of concerned people and anonymous philanthropists spearheaded a nonprofit revitalization effort for the area which was dubbed Soulsville after the slogan "Soulsville U.S.A." which Stax called its studio on its former theater marquee as a counterpoint to Motown Records' Hitsville U.S.A.
Construction began on the Stax Museum and adjacent Stax Music Academy in April 2001. The Stax Music Academy, which had started programming at a nearby elementary school in 2000, opened in 2002 and the museum opened in May 2003.
The Stax Museum is a replica of the Stax recording studio, the former Capitol Theatre, down to the sloping floor of studio A. It is a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) museum with videos, films, photographs, original instruments used to record Stax hits, stage costumes, interactive exhibits, and more than 2000 other items of memorabilia.
The Stax Music Academy is a facility where primarily at-risk youth are mentored through music education and unique performance opportunities they would otherwise likely never experience.
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