Motown Historical Museum – Detroit, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Detroit, Michigan

Motown Historical Museum

Berry Gordy Jr.'s old home, the original headquarters of Motown Record Corporation. 

Founded in 1985 by Esther Gordy Edwards, the sister of Motown recording legend Berry Gordy Jr., the Motown Historical Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Detroit. Every year, the museum attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

Dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Motown Record Corporation, the museum features exhibits that include not only music, but also artwork, costumes, photographs, and other historic memorabilia.

The Motown Historical Museum is located inside of an old house in Detroit christened “Hitsville U.S.A.” by Berry Gordy Jr. that served as the first headquarters for Motown. Open 22 hours a day (it would close between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. for maintenance), the building was a photographer’s studio before being converted into an administrative office and recording studio.

Berry Gordy Jr. and his family lived in the two-family flat while Motown was just getting started. The apartment has been restored to its 1959–1960 appearance and can now be toured by visitors to the museum. It contains Gordy’s original master bedroom set, living room sofa, and dining table, which served as the “shipping department” for the independent record company in its earliest days.

Guests to the museum can tour Studio A, a place where the Jackson Five, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and many others once recorded their music.

Know Before You Go

Call ahead for tour times and reservations; small group tours often sell out. Note: photos are prohibited. Located at the intersection of Rosa Park Blvd. and W. Grand Blvd. There is parking available on the street.