Elvis Presley's Memphis Mansion / spotlight
THE TOUR OF GRACELAND
INCLUDES THE LIVING
ROOM, MUSIC ROOM, HIS
BEDROOM, THE DINING ROOM, KITCHEN, TV
ROOM, POOL ROOM AND
THE FAMOUS JUNGLE
ROOM. PEOPLE CAN ALSO
SPEND TIME IN THE MEDITATION GARDEN, WHERE
ELVIS AND MEMBERS OF
HIS FAMILY ARE BURIED.
number of security details, including ironwork over the windows and a network of cameras inside and outside the home.
Upon entering, visitors are welcomed by a large stairwell that leads to the
second floor and a living room to the right of the front door. The tour of
Graceland includes the living room, music room, his parents’ downstairs
bedroom, the dining room, kitchen, TV room, pool room and the famous
Jungle Room. Visitors can tour the racquetball building, trophy building
with a collection of Elvis’ collection of gold and platinum records and other
memorabilia. People can also spend time in the Meditation Garden, where
Elvis and members of his family are buried.
The Jungle Room is one of the most popular rooms on the tour. Located
in the lower level, the room has an eccentric, Polynesian-inspired style. The
room has an indoor waterfall, wood-paneled walls, green shag carpeting and
rich wood furnishings with intricate carvings details.
While Graceland offers an inside look into Elvis’ life, the upstairs of the
mansion is not open to the public. According to Kern, the part of Graceland
that is open to the public is the part that Elvis showed anyone who came to
Graceland for a visit. The upstairs, however, was a private area for him and
his family. When the museum opened, the family chose to keep the upstairs
a private space.
The museum management changes and/or modifies the exhibits annually.
One new exhibit this year is “Elvis: Live from Vegas,” which highlights Elvis’
shows in Las Vegas. “Elvis set the model for destination concert tours when
he did a live show in Las Vegas,” said Kern.
Part of the property that formerly housed apartments for Elvis’ staff was
converted into exhibit space that now features special VIP exhibits. The current VIP exhibit is “Elvis…Through His Daughter’s Eyes,” which examines
the relationship between Elvis and Lisa Marie through 200 personal items,
including home movies, toys and family mementos.
As a National Historic Landmark that is listed on the National Register of
Historic Places, Graceland is constantly undergoing preservation and restoration.
“There is always some project going on,” said Kern. “It is a painstaking and
expensive process. But it is worth it to ensure that Graceland continues to thrive.
The world will be talking about Elvis and Graceland long after we’re gone.”
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One of the biggest challenges in
managing Graceland is that it requires constant upkeep and restoration. Inside the house, the management team is tasked with staying
on top of preserving the wallpaper;
keeping carpets cleaned despite
the heavy foot traffic from tourists; and maintaining the fabrics
on the furnishings that wear and
fade with time. Further, the management team rehabs and modifies
certain exhibit spaces every year.
The exterior of the house also
requires regular maintenance. Currently, the staff is restoring custom-made ironwork on the front door;
working on the roof; and maintaining the mortar between the stones
on the house. One of the challenges
with constant upkeep is finding a
way to do the work without detracting from the tourist experience.
“We do a lot of work in the winter
because it is a slower time of year,”
While Graceland continues to
be a popular destination, tourism
slowed down during the recession.
As the economy has started to improve, more and more visitors are
once again going to Graceland.
“We have started to see an uptick
in attendance recently; leisure travel is coming back and many people
are making their way to Graceland,”