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Pricilla Presley hosted the private preview.

Priscilla Presley and John Doyle, executive director of the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum (Credit: Michael Donahue)

Priscilla Presley was the special guest at a private reception, which was held March 28th, at the new home of the Rock ’n’ Soul Museum.

The museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame purchased the Hard Rock Cafe at 126 Beale Street for $5 million. The building will be branded as the “J. W. and Kathy Gibson Center of Memphis Music,” thanks to the Gibson contribution.

Kathy and J. W. Gibson at Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum reception (Credit: Michael Donahue)

Asked what she felt the importance of Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul  Museum moving to Beale Street, Priscilla Presley says, “It’s everything. It’s music. It’s Memphis. It’s entertainers. Artists.  All coming together. It’s beautiful. Memphis is the place to be. Memphis, Tennessee.”

John Doyle, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum executive director, greeted guests. Among those attending were Memphis music greats David Porter, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, and Jerry Phillips as well as Congressman Steve Cohen, Geri and Hal Lansky, Leighanne and Jack Soden, and Pat Kerr Tigrett. 

Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and Congressman Steve Cohen at Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum reception (Credit: Michael Donahue)
David Porter was at Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum reception (Credit: Michael Donahue)
Jerry Phillips and Pat Kerr Tigrett at Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum reception (Credit: Michael Donahue)
Jack and Leighanne Soden at Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum reception (Credit: Michael Donahue)

According to a news release from the museum, “Following renovations, the ‘Center of Memphis Music’ will eventually house the Memphis Rock ‘n’Soul Museum, whose original exhibit was researched and developed by the world-famous Smithsonian Institution….The J.W. & Kathy Gibson Center of Memphis Music will also house the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum, already located at 126 Beale, as well as other planned music exhibitions to compliment the complete Memphis music story.”

Also, the release states, “Three major donors of $1 million or more include J.W. & Kathy Gibson, the Assisi Foundation of Greater Memphis, and Mike & Linda Curb. Mike Curb is a former Lt. Governor of California and owner of Curb Records, the country’s largest independent record label.…In appreciation of Mike & Linda Curb’s generous commitment of $2.5 million, the former Hard Rock space will be renovated into the ‘Mike & Linda Curb Music Center,’ a performance space which will offer a great facility on Beale Street for musician workshops, free rehearsal space for musicians, guest speakers, music education and summer camps for students, documentary screenings, and even more music on Beale Street…

“As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul, Inc. will also be able to raise funding for increased daytime and family-friendly events on Beale Street.”

The release names other major supporters, including the Lansky family, of the purchase and preservation. “In the mid-1950s, the Lansky Family, under the leadership of patriarch Bernard Lansky, operated Lansky Bros. Clothiers in the building, and sold clothes to young emerging musicians like Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others.”

Hal and Geri Lansky at Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum reception (Credit: Michael Donahue)

Other major supporters are Melissa and Kevin McEniry, Memphis Tourism, and the late Pat Halloran.

 “The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul organization has already launched Phase 2 of its capital campaign, which will fund the renovation of the building and the relocation of the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum to the new address. The goal of the Phase 2 capital campaign is $10 million. Anticipated increased attendance, an expanded gift shop, activation of the ‘Mike & Linda Curb Music Center,’ and paid parking on the property will help increase earned revenue for the building’s maintenance and utilities, as well as expanded staff to grow programming and promote Memphis music, studios and musicians.”


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