The Stax Museum prepares for its 20th anniversary in 2023


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A museum that honors one of the most influential music companies in Memphis and American history turns 20 next year.

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music will celebrate its anniversary in 2023 with a busy schedule to mark the momentous occasion.

The museum hosted a launch event on Wednesday afternoon with well-known former Stax artist Booker T. Jones.

Sixty years ago, Booker T was among a group of young neighborhood kids playing truant and came across a classic.

“Sunday mornings normally we would be at church,” Jones said.

“It was quite a different thing not to be in church on a Sunday morning at 10 a.m., but they had time off here, and we were scheduled for a session, and we had time off in the studio, so we recorded a few ideas,” Jones said.

“Green Onions” was created from that impromptu session, a song that can be found on just about every greatest song on the all-time chart.

On Wednesday afternoon, Jones returned to where it all began, and this time he was backed by the next generation of great musicians.

“The city gives nourishment and teaching and expectation and so many things,” Jones said. “So I am a product of that. I have to say I’m a beneficiary of that,” Jones said.

It’s what happens here every day at the Stax Museum and the Academy next door, honoring America’s soul music past while preparing for the future,

and next year will mark 20 years of work.

“A lot of people, when they find out it’s the 20th year, they’re going to wait. What? It’s been 20 years already? It’s going to be exciting here because we have a lot of activity,” said the CEO of Soulsville, Pat Mitchell Worley.

There will be monthly public events in 2023, including a gala, a concert series with nationally touring artists, and a year of free field trips for MSCS students.

There will also be new, never-before-seen exhibits.

On Wednesday, guests got a taste of what to expect.

The museum featured a hot pink suit worn by the world’s oldest teenager, Rufus Thomas, and overalls that Otis Redding wore during a video he shot with Carla Thomas.

All of this helps tell the incredible story of Stax that not only changed the history of Memphis, but also music across the world.

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