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Motown Museum expansion to grow museum to 50,000-square-foot entertainment destination

New museum campus to have transformative impact

The milestone moment took place on Sunday morning at Motown Museum during a weekend-long series of events. (WDIV)

The next phase of Motown Museum's highly anticipated expansion has begun as Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, and special guests broke ground on Hitsville Next, Motown Museum's planned campus center for innovative educational and community programming.

The milestone moment took place on Sunday morning at Motown Museum during a weekend-long series of events celebrating the 60th anniversary of Motown Records.

Gordy was joined by his great niece Robin Terry, Chairwoman and CEO of Motown Museum, for the Hitsville Next groundbreaking, along with Terry's sister Elesha Bridgers and special guests Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Also part of the historic groundbreaking moment were key supporters of the expansion Jimmy Settles, Group Executive of Neighborhoods, City of Detroit, and former UAW-Ford vice president; Jim Vella, President of Ford Motor Company Fund; Faye Nelson, Director of Michigan Programs at W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and Ethan Davidson of the William Davidson Foundation and Trustee of Motown Museum.

A number of other special guests were present, including dozens of Motown alumni, esteemed dignitaries, religious leaders and other influential civic and community members as well as members of the entertainment community including Marc Byers, General Manager of Motown Records representing the label as part of its generous contribution to the expansion.

The groundbreaking serves as the ceremonial marker for the museum reaching the halfway point in the fundraising campaign -- $25 million raised-and the start of construction on the first of four phases comprising the museum's $50 million expansion project announced in 2016.

"This is the moment the world has been waiting for," Terry said. "I couldn't be more delighted to stand with all of our supporters who have made this possible." 

The programming made possible through Hitsville Next is designed to activate and inspire future generations of creatives and entrepreneurs who follow in the footsteps of Motown legends.

Motown Museum already offers four programs as part of its Hitsville Next initiative, and the expansion project makes new programs possible to further cement Motown Museum's role in providing education and resources to budding artists and entrepreneurs in Detroit and beyond.

Additionally, workforce development training programs will create opportunities for individuals to gain the critical skills needed to be successful in the music industry and compete in the modern-day creative economy. 

"The Motown Museum is a celebration of the music that changed America right here in the city where it was born and the legacy that Berry Gordy built," Whitmer said. "This museum will create opportunities for Detroit kids to learn more about their hometown and feel proud of where they come from. By the time this project is finished, tens of thousands of people will come to Detroit to learn about the city's history, it's contributions to pop culture, and some of the incredible people who have called it home."

New signature programs planned as part of Hitsville Next will begin in 2020, with learning opportunities and mentorships available to young people through young adulthood. The new Master Class Series will connect middle school and high school students to professionals in a variety of business and entertainment disciplines, fostering career dreams from a young age.

Already one of Michigan's leading cultural institutions, the Motown Museum expansion will preserve the inspiration of the Motown legacy for future generations from across the country and around the world. The museum's expansion will continue the organization's mission to elevate the community and provide economic growth and regional enrichment for Detroiters and visitors alike, ensuring the history of Motown informs the future of the music and entertainment industry for years to come.

Announced in late 2016, the Motown Museum expansion will grow the museum to a 50,000-square-foot world-class entertainment and education tourist destination featuring dynamic, interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, an expanded retail experience and meeting spaces designed by renown architects and exhibit designers.

When completed, the new museum campus will have a transformative impact on the surrounding Detroit neighborhoods, providing employment, sustainability and community pride by serving as an important catalyst for new investment and tourism in the historic area.

For more information on programs, visit www.motownmuseum.org.