|photo from Wikipedia|
I was born here in Memphis and have spent most of my life here, but I had never been to Graceland. To be honest, I still thought of it as Elvis' house and didn't have any desire to tour it. His daughter Lisa Marie still owns it after all, and it seemed a bit intrusive to me to wander through. The Daughter is enthusiastic about doing all the tourist attractions here, though, and I'm glad I went with her when she went while it was decorated for the Christmas holidays. Elvis sang Christmas songs over the sound system as we waited our turn to get on the shuttle bus to cross the street from the parking/ticketing/exhibit complex to the mansion property, and there were lit decorations scattered around. No flash photography is allowed, and The Daughter agreed to let me use her photos. I don't trust my camera not to flash even after I've told it not to.
Here's the drive leading up to the house:
Christmas decorations on the lawn:
The Living Room and Dining Room:
Elvis' mother's bedroom and the foyer staircase leading up to the 2nd floor:
The Jungle Room and the Pool Room:
The TV Room:
A display room for some of his awards:
Lisa Marie's swing set:
The Racketball building:
from the Automobile Museum:
A video tour of the car museum:
The Lisa Marie:
A video tour of the planes, which are being sold:
Here's my late lunch at the on-site Rockabilly's Burger Shop:
(I'm sharing that Coke with the folks at the Tuesday link gathering at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog.)
The Meditation Garden:
This is a video tour in 2 parts led by a Graceland archivist, who describes how Elvis came to buy and decorate the home:
Here's a video via youtube of the Christmas lights and decorations inside and out:
I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting Memphis. I'd say it's a must-see if you have any interest at all in music history or pop culture. We only allowed half a day. I'd suggest getting there when they open at 9 and planning to make a whole day of it.
Graceland is a shrine to Elvis' music. There was little in-depth exploration of his life in the $42 Platinum+ tour we took and barely a mention of his death and the cult that has grown up around him. Elvis lived in Memphis, but there's not much about Memphis in the exhibits. Were I to add anything, I'd add
- a room on his death: his health issues, photos of the vigil crowds at the time, copies of newspapers with relevant headlines, information on the extent of the gathering (for example, the day after he died there wasn't an available hotel room within a 6-hour drive of Memphis), coverage of the phenomenon of the annual Death Week gatherings, photos of the original gravesite before his body was moved to Graceland....
- a display on Memphis during the period Elvis lived here: photos of Elvis at businesses he frequented; photos of places he rented for private use, such as movie theaters and the fairgrounds; demographic information; photos of other places where he lived here in town;
- some information on planned changes both on the grounds and in the neighborhood.
- As time passes, I'd expect to see more information on Elvis' personal life, such as his relationship with Priscilla and their meeting, marriage and divorce. While affected family members are still alive I don't imagine that's appropriate, but eventually I'd think such information would be included.