Graceland Set to Mark 40th Anniversary with New Elvis Presley Exhibit

by Caitlin Berard

Sixty-five years ago, Elvis Presley set his sights on a gorgeous colonial revival home in Memphis, Tennessee. Constructed in 1939, the home rested on nearly 14 acres of land. Within its walls, it boasted 17,552 square feet of space with eight bedrooms and bathrooms. In 1957, when he was just 22 years old, Presley bought the estate, named Graceland by the previous owners.

Elvis remained in Graceland until his death on August 16, 1977. At that point, the estate was inherited by his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. Both public and private funerals were then held at the estate. Presley’s public funeral at Graceland saw more than 3,000 Elvis fans pay their respects, after which the estate laid quiet for 4 years.

Then, in late 1981, Priscilla Presley began the process to convert Elvis Presley’s iconic Memphis home into a museum. Her vision was to celebrate the legacy of Elvis in the most intimate place in his life while maintaining the breathtaking estate, as it cost around half a million dollars a year to do so.

Elvis’ Iconic Home Opens to the Public

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 7, 1982, Graceland became an instant success. For a mere $5, visitors could tour the home of one of the most beloved music stars in history. Less than a decade after Graceland opened its doors to visitors, the estate was added to the National Register of Historic Places. And in 2006, it was officially designated a Historic Landmark.

Every year, the estate welcomes over 500,000 visitors through its gates, according to the Graceland website. In total, Elvis’ home has seen upwards of 20 million visitors from every state in the country and nearly every country in the world.

Visiting Graceland is now a little more expensive ($44 to $77 per person for the Elvis Experience tour and even more for VIP tours). However, it remains one of the five most visited homes in the United States. And now, 40 years after opening its doors to the public, Graceland is celebrating its anniversary in a big way.

Graceland to Celebrate 40th Anniversary with New Exhibit

In celebration of 40 years of Graceland, the estate is opening a “Graceland, Welcome to My World” exhibit. Held in the 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex, the exhibit will display photos, footage, and Elvis artifacts, including instruments, costumes, and cars.

Among the various Elvis Presley footage, unseen interviews with Priscilla Presley and Graceland CEO Jack Soden will air inside the museum.

This year is a particularly special one for Graceland. In addition to Graceland’s 40th anniversary, the estate is holding the ELVIS 45 celebration, honoring the anniversary of Elvis’ passing. While enjoying the celebration, fans can stay at the nearby Heartbreak Hotel, purchased by the Presley estate in 1999.