I’ve decided to separate my posts on Memphis considering we visited two extremely different heritage sites/museums. Both, I believe, deserve their own focus.
The first I want to review is Graceland – the former home of Elvis Presley. Just to be clear it is a massive tourist site drawing around 800 people a day in off season and up to 2 000 during peak season. You will find tacky shops and just about everything Elvis-themed under the sun. This, however, should not detract you from visiting. I wanted to see Graceland for two reasons. One, I’ve heard it’s a beautiful house and two, I spent a lot of Sunday afternoons sitting at home with nothing to watch on TV but old Elvis movies.
At Graceland you have the opportunity to tour his house and the surrounding gardens, and see a little museum. The tour is very high tech with each visitor receiving an iPad to guide them around. I really enjoyed the tour. It was well paced and gave a nice overview of everything. I don’t like those audio guides that spend 10-15 minutes in front of each object/room. All it achieves, in my opinion, is congestion.
As for the inside of the house, it is filled with original furniture and objects that will take you back to the 1970s. In the jungle-themed living room there is shag pile carpet not only on the floor, but also, on the roof.
After touring the house and the back garden paddocks you visit the trophy building. This is where the little museum is located. It contains a lot of Elvis’ clothing and his gold record collection. There were just over 125 gold records on display! You can switch off the audio guide at this stage and read the object descriptions.
Graceland is also where Elvis is now buried and right at the end of the tour you can visit the meditation gardens and pay your respects. In total, the tour lasted around an hour. Ignoring the multitude of gift shops at the visitor center the house itself has been managed very well. It’s a tastefully done tour and a great site filled with music heritage.
I’ll post in a couple of days or so on the National Civil Rights Museum also located in Memphis.