By The Associated Press
The Motown Museum’s expansion effort has gotten a $3 million boost from the philanthropic Ballmer Group.
The Ballmer Group’s gift means the Detroit museum has now raised about $25 million of the $50 million it needs for the project that will expand the venue into a 50,000-square-foot (4,645-square-meter) entertainment and education tourist destination.
Museum Chair and Chief Executive Robin Terry said museum officials are “very fortunate for their generous gift.”
The entrance hallway to the Motown Museum is seen, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in Detroit. The Detroit building where Berry Gordy Jr. built his music empire reopened its doors to the public on Wednesday. It had been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The Motown Museum is located in the house where record company founder Berry Gordy launched a cultural and commercial music empire. The label started in 1959 and scores of stars and hits were created before it decamped to California in 1972.
The expansion is designed around the existing museum, which includes the Motown studio with its “Hitsville U.S.A.” facade. Plans include interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, more retail and meeting spaces.
It also is expected to serve as a catalyst for new investment and tourism.
“Motown represents the cultural lifeblood of the southeast Michigan region, as well as its legacy of incredible talent and entrepreneurship,” said Kylee Mitchell Wells, the Ballmer Group’s Southeast Michigan executive director.
The Ballmer Group was co-founded by Steve and Connie Ballmer. Steve Ballmer is the former chief executive of Microsoft and chair of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.
Motown Museum tour guide Jamia Henry points out notable Motown legends during a tour of the museum, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in Detroit. The Detroit building where Berry Gordy Jr. built his music empire reopened its doors to the public on Wednesday. It had been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
A groundbreaking for the museum’s expansion was held last year. Phase one of the project is called Hitsville Next which will serve as the museum’s educational and creative hub, offering innovative education and community engagement programs.
“We’re inspired that the expansion will share the story of Motown on a larger scale and welcome new generations of fans, music lovers, budding artists and business leaders from Detroit and around the world,” Wells said.