Ester Gordy Edwards knew what she was doing in 1985.
When she founded the Motown Museum at 2648 West Grand in Detroit, Michigan. As an original staff member of Motown Records and older sister of founder Berry Gordy, she knew the value of preserving the label’s Detroit studio. In 1959 Berry came to her and her husband, who at the time ran a Co-Op they created to provide loans to family members. Berry asked for an $800 loan to help start Motown Records and the rest is history.
As the label grew, Edwards took an active role in managing the acts and became known as the “Mother of Motown.” She worked in various roles throughout the history of the organization and eventually went on to open the Motown Historical Museum, Hitsville U.S.A., which is now one of the most popular tourist spots in Southern Michigan. Tens of thousands of visitors come to the museum each year in order to see a slice of American musical history.
The Museum tells a story about how one of the most successful record labels of all time was created by a young African-American man who had a vision of greatness for himself and others. The Mission of the museum is to preserve the history and legacy of Motown Records by maintaining the original location of the company. They utilize public programming, exhibitions, and educational programs to build an awareness of Motown and how it contributed artistically to the entertainment industry. This is done through a huge collection of Motown artifacts and memorabilia, including Studio A, a recording site where a number of Motown recording artists like Diana Ross and the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips and the Jackson 5, stood and recorded the music that made them and the label famous.
The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-6pm, and is closed on Sunday and Monday. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at motownmuseum.org. Tours are first come, first served and during high traffic times of the year, they often sell out. Call 313-875-2264 for more information about group tours or for general questions about the Museum.