Graceland in Memphis is the location most often associated with Elvis Presley. But the King of Rock and Roll was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum brings many fans every year who want to learn more about Elvis’s life.
But the museum has welcomed an increasing number of visitors as the 45th anniversary of his death came to pass. Plus, the hit film about the life of Elvis, Baz Lurhmann’s Elvis, took the world by storm and reignited the general audience’s love for the musician’s trademark style.
Roy Turner serves as executive director of the Birthplace Museum. He spoke to his local news outlet about the increase in tourist activity at the museum. He said the biggest challenge since he took the position has been getting attendance numbers back up to where they were pre-pandemic. But he said business began picking back up in April earlier this year. Then when Elvis came out business “really picked up.”
“They’re coming from all over the world,” Turner said. “Today we probably had 20 from Belgium who spent the better part of the day here. Over the next 15 days, we have 35 bus tours coming through … the number of visitors is approaching to what they were pre-COVID.”
The 45th anniversary of Elvis’s passing also played a factor into the increase in attendance. Turner said they typically see more people in the five-year increments. But he’s also noticing more varied groups of people coming to see the museum.
“We’ve seen a lot of young people show an interest in Elvis,” Turner said. “Another interesting thing is that there are more African American visitors as well. Because the movie told more of Elvis’s connection to the African American community.”
‘Elvis’ Makes a New Generation of Fans
The new Elvis film has sparked a huge amount of renewed interest in the King’s music. As such, Turner said he’s even seeing the locals from the area around the museum come in greater numbers.
“I saw a lot of locals come in when the film first came out, and it thrilled me,” Turner said. “We have a great facility that’s often taken for granted, and more people need to see that we have a top-notch park and museum.”
Celebrations for Elvis’s life happened across the world this week. Including at his famous Graceland in Memphis where a large candlelit vigil took place Monday night. Reportedly more than 30,000 fans flocked to Graceland for the chance to honor the King. Priscilla Presley reacted to the events of this week during an interview with TODAY.
“Oh my gosh, it’s been a big week, that’s for sure,” Presley said. “And to see the amount of people that still come to see Elvis is unbelievable. We had the vigil last night, the candlelight vigil. 30,000 people showed up, so that says a lot.”
Presley then touched on Elvis, which stars Austin Butler as her late husband. She said the film has done a great job of building a new generation of Elvis fans.
“I mean what a great movie. I have to say [Baz] is a genius,” Presley said. “I don’t know anyone else who could have done this movie like he did. He does his own thing.”