Even more than 80 years after Elvis Presley‘s birth, Tupelo in Mississippi is still dominated by memories of its most famous sons. You can still eat where “The King” loved to eat in his childhood, buy a guitar in the hardware store and have graffiti of him in city center, as I saw during my short walk through Tupelo on my CMA Fest trip. I unfortunately just had limited time to spent in the city, but of course, I visited the highlight of the Elvis Presley cult, his birthplace, which is still situated at its original location.
Elvis Presley Birthplace – Location & Admission
The park in which the birthplace is located is about one mile east of Historic Tupelo. It was about a five minute drive from my hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Tupelo. Parking is free.
Adult Admission is 18 USD, which includes the church, the museum and the house. It is not that offensively marketed that you may also buy a house-only ticket, which is 8 USD. I am not fully sure, but I felt that walking around the parks, watching the statue and exploring the church from outside is free.
Elvis Presley Birthplace – The Museum
I started my visit with the small museum, which is especially focussing on “The King”‘s life in Tupelo, of course. There are some very nice exhibits.
Elvis Presley Birthplace – The House
The Presleys lived in comparably poor conditions. The house, in which Elvis and his stillborn twin brother, Jesse Garon, have been delivered, is a comparably small two room wooden house with a small veranda. It is located at its original position.
The Walk of Life is around the house, giving all the years of Elvis’ life, 1935 to 1977, with important events of his life.
At least the team which runs the birthplace states that they try to keep the room as original as possible. The bed and most of the furniture of the bedroom and living room, which you enter first, are original Presley pieces. The kitchen is simple, as the whole house is. It is a typical 1930s, 1940s US lower class home – but not just due to the family picture and some artifacts, it is definitely a magical place.
Elvis Presley Birthplace – The Church
In contrasgt to the house, in which Vernon and Gladys Presley lived with Elvis, which is still at its original location, the church in which Elvis worshiped has been moved to the location it is currently situated. The admission to the church is timed, the first show was at 10:30 (which was very bothering, arriving there at 9:15). The building hat to be repainted and refurbished in the meantime – however, there are some originals inside. When the church “show” is started, screens showed how church life has been in this building at Elvis times. If you are more religious or are interested in religious history, you might love that – I was not too touched by it.
Furthermore, for the duration of the show, the main door is locked, so that you block the major emergency exit in a wooden building – I felt that to be very critical and thus felt unsafe.
Elvis Presley Birthplace – Park & Other Exhibits
When you are arriving from the car park, you first see one of Elvis’ cars in a patio. The areal covers a couple of additional exhibits. For example, there is the a statue of the 13 year old Elvis and the nice Fountain of Life. The nicest part of the park is away from the parking lots, though. On your left, it features the lake Reflections with the Bridge over Troubled Water.
Up the hill, there is a the famous double statue with Elvis at the age of 11 and as a grown-up entertainer in his gown-like suit.
Elvis Presley Birthplace – Services and Gift Shop
The museum and admission building also holds an educational / conference facility, services and the gift shop (where photography is not allowed). You will have a quite huge collection of Elvis souvenirs in here.
Elvis Presley Birthplace – My View
Elvis Presley is a legend – and this place is definitely a place of magic. For the, having a short hop into the museum (which is nice, but not competitive if you do Graceland thereafter), visitng the birthhouse and strolling through the park and the statue would have been sufficient to me. I would have been fine with just having a look into the church. Locking the doors made me feel unsafe, which I emphasize as critics again. If you are around, you have to visit the birthplace of Elvis and smell a bit of his magic!
These are all articles, in which I dealt with events and places influencing musical history:
Postings: Museums & Exhibitions
Here are all my postings about all kinds of museums and kind of other exhibitions: