Thursday, February 22, 2024

$45 Million Graceland Expansion Brings New Museums and Performance Space

Memphis, TN, USA – Elvis Presley’s Graceland® has formally announced its largest and most significant expansion since opening to the public in 1982 with the unveiling of its plans and artist renderings for “Elvis: Past, Present & Future™,” a 200,000- square-foot, $45 million entertainment complex now under construction across the street from Elvis’™ iconic Graceland Mansion. The state-of-the-art facility, opening in the spring of 2017, will be five times the size of the current visitor center, and will present the life, career and legacy of the greatest entertainer like never before. The complex will also showcase interactive and immersive pop culture experiences that connect to Elvis’ personal interests and activities throughout his life, including his passion for automobiles and new technology.

While the acclaimed Graceland Mansion tour will continue to present the personal and family side of Elvis’ life, “Elvis: Past, Present & Future” will tell the rest of Elvis’ incredible story in an unprecedented, interactive and highly-engaging way.

“We are thrilled to bring Elvis fans the opportunity to explore the things that Elvis loved and what he would have loved today – the music, the technology, the experiences,” stated Joel Weinshanker, Managing Partner, Graceland Holdings, LLC. “Elvis: Past Present & Future will enable our visitors to live a day in the life of Elvis Presley. Whether you’ve been to Graceland multiple times or have yet to make the trip, we know that you will be entertained, educated and inspired like never before, here at the world’s greatest music landmark.”


The cornerstone of this new complex will be “Elvis: The Entertainer,” a 20,000-square-foot museum celebrating Elvis’ incredible music, movie and live touring career, featuring hundreds of artifacts from the extensive Graceland Archives, as guests take a journey from his early days in Tupelo, Miss., through his first recording session in Memphis, rise to fame, Hollywood career, service in the U.S. Army, life at Graceland, the Las Vegas years and more. “Elvis: The Entertainer” will be the largest and most comprehensive Elvis museum in the world.


A new Elvis Presley Automobile Museum will showcase over 20 of Elvis’ automobile and motorized vehicles, including Elvis’ iconic Pink Cadillac, and also feature a 200-seat theater space showcasing Elvis movie clips focused on cars and racing.

A 20,000-square-foot “Graceland Soundstage” will be an extraordinary venue for live music performances, movie screenings and premieres, video productions, with theater seating for up to 2,000 people, as well as the flexibility to use for private events, corporate meetings, conferences and trade show exhibitions.

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“Discovery” exhibit spaces will showcase aspects of Elvis’ life, career and interests in greater depth, from the music genres that influenced Elvis from his earliest days – Rhythm & Blues, Southern Gospel, Country & Western — to today’s music artists who continue to be influenced by Elvis and his body of work. Graceland will also partner with iconic brands to present immersive, experiential exhibits and pop culture attractions to enhance the visitor experience throughout the complex.

A signature exhibition will present the incredible story of music visionary and legendary producer Sam Phillips, who essentially created Rock ‘n’ Roll and discovered so many incredible artists at Memphis Recording Service/Sun Records, including Howlin’ Wolf, BB King, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and, of course, Elvis Presley. Graceland will partner with the Phillips family to develop an extensive exhibition that showcases Sam’s life and work in an unprecedented and engaging way. Featuring rare artifacts, photos, videos and documents from the Phillips family archives, the exhibition will shine a light on the great artists that Sam produced, starting with the early blues recordings that profoundly influenced Elvis and continues to impact the music of today.

In a statement, Sam Phillips’ sons Knox and Jerry said, “Our family and the Presley family have had a long standing relationship since 1954, when Sam gave Elvis the inspiration and opportunity to express himself through music at his Memphis Recording Service studio. The entire Sam Phillips family is extremely pleased and proud to partner with Graceland as we bring Sam’s incredible story to life for Graceland visitors from around the world. What better place to do this than here in Memphis where it all happened. Sam and Elvis had such love and respect for each other, and now they will be recognized together again, influencing new generations for years to come. Rock on…”

“Graceland is thrilled to team with Knox and Jerry and the entire Phillips family on this exhibition about an extraordinary man and our dear friend, Sam Phillips, who changed the world forever with his amazing vision, insight and great talent,” stated Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. “We can’t wait to present Sam’s entire story and tremendous legacy, from his earliest days, to the artists he discovered and nurtured, to his crucial role in Elvis’ life and career – as we make this exhibition a vital part of the expanded Graceland experience.”


The “Elvis: Past, Present & Future” experience will also feature Elvis’ two custom airplanes, the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II, which continue to be a very popular part of the existing Graceland visitor center. The iconic planes will remain across the street from the Mansion, adjacent to the new venue.


The new facility will also feature two themed restaurants named for Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon. Gladys’ Diner will feature classic American fare, including Elvis’ favorite: grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Vernon’s Smokehouse will feature authentic Memphis BBQ, smoked in house. A coffee bar and ice cream shop will also be located within the complex, along with new retail stores offering the most extensive collection of Elvis merchandise in the world.

“Elvis: Past, Present & Future” is Phase II of the planned Graceland expansion and development. Combined with the $92 million Phase 1 project — The Guest House at Graceland 450-room resort hotel opening October 27, 2016 — Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. is investing a total of $137 million in the Whitehaven community of Memphis to further enhance the Memphis and Graceland experience for visitors from around the world.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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