Prince’s creative oasis, his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis, will be turned into a museum and opened for daily public tours in October, the administrator of the late icon’s estate have announced.
Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, said in a statement that this was always her brother’s goal. In fact, it was one of the first things she and her husband said publicly after Prince’s April 21 death from a drug overdose in an elevator at Paisley Park.
“Opening Paisley Park is something that Prince always wanted to do and was actively working on,” Tyka Nelson said in the press release issued by Bremer Trust, the special administrator of Prince’s still-unresolved estate.
“Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime,” Nelson said. “Now fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince’s world for the first time, as we open the doors to this incredible place.”
“The new Paisley Park museum will offer fans a unique experience, an exhibition like no other, as Prince would have wanted it,” according to the official statement by Prince’s siblings (his heirs include five half-siblings besides his full sister, Tyka).
“Most important, the museum will display Prince’s genius, honor his legacy, and carry forward his strong sense of family and community.” Under the plans for the museum, to be reviewed by the city of Chanhassen, Minn., guided tours will take visitors throughout the extensive main floor of the 65,000-square-foot Paisley Park, including the studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits.
The tours will include Prince’s video editing suites, rehearsal rooms, private NPG Music Club, and a massive soundstage and concert hall where he rehearsed for tours and held exclusive private events and concerts. Visitors also will see thousands of artifacts from Prince’s personal archives, including his concert wardrobe, awards, musical instruments, artwork, rare music and video recordings, concert memorabilia, automobiles and motorcycles.
“The Estate is working with the family to form an advisory council who will provide valuable input on the entire experience,” said Bremer Trust President Craig Ordal in a statement.
Chanhassen Mayor Denny Laufenburger tweeted his own statement, saying he believes the plans are in full accordance with Prince’s wishes and that the star’s vision for Paisley Park as a museum was in place even before his death. “He knew exactly how to showcase his production studio for his fans in preparation for this eventual outcome,” Laufenburger said.
Bremer touted the museum as an unprecedented opportunity for fans to “experience first-hand what it was like for Prince to create, produce and perform inside this private sanctuary and remarkable production complex, which is also considered one of the greatest landmarks in the entertainment industry.”
Bremer’s plans call for tapping “the operational expertise of an experienced property management team, which will also provide initial funding for capital improvements. The Estate will maintain ownership of the property.” Bremer said the media spokesman for the project will be the same company that handles national media for Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
It suggests Bremer and Prince’s family are seeking to make the Paisley Park museum somewhat in the image of Graceland, which opened in 1982, five years after Presley died, and now draws about 500,000 visitors a year. The total economic impact on the city of Memphis from Graceland visitors is estimated to be $150 million a year.
Bremer Trust has been focused on sorting out Prince’s multi-million-dollar estate (no will was found), trying to determine who besides his siblings are his heirs. It is trying to sell some property, such as Prince’s Caribbean villa, to generate cash to pay hefty estate tax bills that are coming due in January. And the estate has hired consultants in the music industry to help decide what to do with Prince’s musical catalog and any tapes of unreleased music.