The Soulsville Foundation – which operates the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Stax Music Academy, and The Soulsville Charter School at the original site of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee –has made the difficult decision to temporarily close the Stax Museum out of concern for the safety of its employees, visitors, volunteers, and other guests amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
While we have not seen any signs of COVID-19 among our staff and visitors, we feel that we should take this preventative measure because the circumstances surrounding the virus are changing by the hour and we always err on the side of caution when it comes to safety, which is our top priority.
Although the museum’s closure status will be reevaluated every two weeks, it is postponing until further notice all events and programs until at least April 30, 2020.
The Stax Museum is unique in that it is not only an international tourist destination drawing people from around the world and a community-based museum offering free programming for the general public throughout the year, but it also shares the same campus as the aforementioned Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School, which provide education and other services to roughly 800 children and families each day. In keeping with Shelby County Schools’ policies, both schools are closed until March 30, 2020.
“Like the rest of the world, we are deeply concerned about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak,” said Soulsville Foundation President and CEO Richard Greenwald. “We realize that many of the Stax Museum’s guests travel to Memphis from across the United States and from other countries and, given the propensity for the virus to affect those traveling, we feel it’s our responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by temporarily closing the Stax Museum. It’s not an easy decision but we feel it’s the right thing to do at this time.”
In the meantime, the Soulsville Foundation will continue deep cleaning and sanitizing of all its facilities and following all protocol set forth by the American Alliance of Museums, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Shelby County Health Department, and other relevant organizations. We urge everyone to follow these guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus.
We will keep the public updated on any and all changes during this time and regret any inconvenience.
“Our hearts go out to the millions of people being affected by COVID-19,” Greenwald continued. “Our hope is that the pandemic will eventually subside and we can return to business as usual of preserving and promoting the legacy of Stax Records in the many ways we do that.”