Motown Museum Reveals New Artifacts In Celebration of Motown Records 60th Anniversary

Motown Museum announced that it will celebrate a momentous day in what will be a very special year by unveiling never-before-seen artifacts from the founding of Motown Record Corporation in honor of its 60th anniversary in 2019. The official display opening to the public on Saturday, January 12. The artifacts will remain on display through the end of the month. Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry made the announcement.

When Berry Gordy, Jr. received an $800 loan from the Gordy family savings club—the Ber-Berry Co-op—on January 12, 1959 in Detroit, few could have guessed that this modest sum would forever change the cultural and music landscape. The loan was used to finance Berry Gordy’s first independent record “Come to Me” by Marv Johnson, which ultimately led to the formation of Motown Record Corporation, the institution responsible for more than 180 and counting No. 1 hit songs worldwide and transcendent and groundbreaking work from multi-platinum artists like The Temptations, the Four Tops, The Supremes, the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and The Jackson 5.

“Sixty years ago, this extraordinary musical legacy was born in the city of Detroit,” said Terry. “Berry Gordy is a man of vision, talent and genius, who used his entrepreneurial instincts and remarkable talents to turn $800 into a historic, game changing legacy. Along the way, the Motown Record Corporation would forge new grounds, introduce the unforgettable ‘Motown Sound’ to the world, and create a transcendent worldwide phenomenon that is beloved by music-lovers around the globe today. As we kick off our year-long anniversary celebration, we are thrilled to unveil these never-before-seen artifacts that provide fans a rare and remarkable glimpse into the inception of this incredible story.”

The never-before-seen artifacts on display in honor of this anniversary celebration include:

  • Ber-Berry Co-op savings account book owned by Berry Gordy, Sr.: This account book gives Motown fans a unique look at the establishment of the Ber-Berry Co-op and organizational structure put in place by the Gordy family members.
  • Ber-Berry Co-op Analysis of Member Accounts document, dated April 10, 1960. This archival document is the official accounting ledger that certifies the re-payment of the $800 loan given to Mr. Gordy.
  • Minutes from the Ber-Berry Co-op meeting held on Feb 8, 1959. These official Co-op minutes provide a fascinating glimpse into how the Gordy family conducted business at the time.

The museum will be conducting a series of these ‘Archive Dives’ to uncover relevant new artifacts throughout the year. These new artifacts will be curated and revealed in a series of special displays timed to coincide with key milestone dates throughout the 60th-anniversary celebration.

“What’s really exciting for us—and for all Motown fans—is that this is just the beginning,” Terry said. “It’s a privilege for us to continue to share more Motown history and artifacts from our vast collection with fans and to tell new stories in new ways. Exploring new opportunities to tell deeper and more compelling stories is one of the reasons we are so passionate about our upcoming expansion project.”

In addition to upcoming celebratory moments and ‘Archives Dives’ during 2019, Motown Museum will host its popular lineup of core programming, including the Motown Mic spoken word poetry contest, its SPARK and IGNITE summer camps, and Amplify, a singing competition.

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.

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