Culture

Berry Gordy Donates $4 Million to Motown Museum Expansion

Berry Gordy Donates $4 Million to Motown Museum Expansion

What a way to keep the legacy alive!

Billboard is reporting that the legendary Motown founder, Berry Gordy Jr. has donated $4 million to the Motown Museum’s expansion project. 

The Motown Museum is located in Detroit, Michigan at the Hitsville, U.S. A. site, the building where Gordy first built his music empire. The museum announced its expansion project back in 2017. The goal is to raise $50 million to grow the museum into a 50,000 square foot world class tourist attraction. The new museum will feature interactive exhibits, a state of the art performance theater, brand new recording studios, an expanded retail experience and meeting spaces. 

Hitsville U.S.A. Chairwoman, CEO of Motown Museum, and Gordy’s grand niece, Robin R. Terry, first made the announcement saying, “Our goal is to bring an expanded Motown Museum to the world, to inspire dreams and serve as an educational resource for global and local communities while creating an international mecca of music and entertainment history. This expanded facility will be an exhilarating national and international tourist destination which will allow us to narrate and celebrate on a much larger scale what the Motown legacy is recognized for: unmatched creative genius that transcends every barrier imaginable by bringing people together from all walks of life to share in that unmistakable Motown Sound.”

Gordy launched Motown Records in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family’s Ber-Berry Co-op trust. He drew inspiration from the automobile industry native to Detroit, creating an assembly line of record-making. Motown’s roster of artists included Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Temptations. In 1972, Gordy moved the label to Los Angeles before selling it in 1988. Gordy’s sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, founded the museum in 1985. When Edwards passed in 2011, Gordy credited her with “turning the spot where Hitsville started into a phenomenal world-class monument.” 

Over the years Gordy has donated money, artifacts, properties and memorabilia to the museum. But his latest gift, which coincides with the label’s 60th anniversary, is the largest individual donation to the expansion project. Terry said in a statement that Gordy’s donation “advances [the] vision of making the expanded museum a world class entertainment and educational destination that will ensure the inspiration of Motown lives on for generations to come.” 

“There would be no Motown legacy, Motown Sound or Motown Museum without Berry Gordy,” Terry continued. “He has given the world a soundtrack to live by; Detroit a legacy of pride; and our youth an example of entrepreneurial and creative excellence.” 

Other donations have also come in from the Ford Motor Company and UAW-Ford, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, AARP, DTE Energy Foundation, Dr. William Pickard, The Elaine & Leo Stern Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, LEAR Corporation, William Davidson Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation and many others.

Gordy made a statement about his donation saying, “I’m excited about the future of Motown Museum and happy to support it. Not only will the expanded museum entertain and tell the stories of talented and creative people who succeeded against all odds, but it will also inspire and create opportunity for people to explore their dreams the way I did mine. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that.”

The Motown Museum is already an amazing attraction! We look forward to seeing what the new facility will look like once the expansion is completed!

Photo Courtesy of Detroit Free Press