When tourists come to Memphis to visit Elvis Presley's home, Graceland, they may not realize that taking a tour of "Graceland" involves much more than walking through a historic house. On the grounds of Graceland alone, you will see not only the Graceland mansion, but several other buildings on the grounds which house an abundance of Elvis Presley memorabilia and historic artifacts.
The Elvis Presley archive department was created back in the early 1980s with the opening of Graceland. Luckily, Elvis Presley's father, Vernon, was a "pack rat" keeping virtually everything that Elvis ever used. This vast permanent collection enables Graceland to create their own exclusive exhibits showcasing Elvis extraordinary career.
One building on the 13.8 acre estate has evolved into an Elvis Presley museum featuring highlights from Elvis Presley's career and personal life. Rows and rows of Presley's gold records line the walls and display cases showcase famous outfits including Elvis' army uniform, Priscilla Presley's wedding gown and Lisa Marie's baby clothes. Memorabilia from Elvis' feature films and historic Las Vegas performances including the flashy sequined jumpsuits are also on display.
Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, stated in a recent interview on the Elvis radio channel on SiriusXM that it has taken almost 30 years for archivists to go through and catalog all of Elvis Presley's belongings at Graceland. In addition to the exhibits featured on the Graceland grounds, across the street at the Graceland Plaza complex, additional exhibits on Elvis are offered that are changed every year. Soden says the archive department is set for at least another 10 years of new exhibit material to display at Graceland.
Currently, there are three temporary exhibits at the Graceland Plaza complex including: "Elvis on Tour" celebrating the 40th anniversary of the award-winning documentary also called "Elvis on Tour," "Icon: The Influence of Elvis Presley" which celebrates Elvis' influence on generations of rock stars, and "Elvis...Through His Daughter's Eyes" focusing on the relationship between Elvis and his daughter, Lisa Marie.
Graceland has also lent several items to the exhibit in Liverpool, England called "Elvis and Us" which explores the relationship and influences between Elvis and The Beatles.
The ultimate exhibit at Graceland obviously is Elvis' home which can be considered a museum unto itself, since it contains original items and furniture that Elvis Presley used up until 1977, the year that he died. Other parts of Graceland to see include the Meditation Garden, Elvis' Trophy room (formerly his racquetball court) and Vernon Presley's office. Elvis Presley's home, Graceland, is one of the most visited private homes in the US receiving 600,000 visitors per year.
Check out other articles in my Graceland series leading up to the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death this August, in the Elvis Presley Examiner column, including photos of the Meditation Garden, the main house and Elvis' trophy room.
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