How Paisley Park Can Be a Better Museum

If the curators had done nothing to Paisley Park it would still be an honor to be there. I know: I was there on day two. That they have modified the space – despite roundly and falsely claiming to have left some rooms on the tour “untouched” – but not amplified much about the experience beyond making you feel like you should feel lucky to be there at all does generate some disappointments along the way. There is something magical about being in Paisley Park even as it is, but for those who are more than the casual fan, there are a lot of missed opportunities. Prince’s legacy should thrive in a singular way through the vehicle that only Paisley Park can provide. Here are a few ways the opportunity to tour Paisley Park can improve as an experience (because it should be an immersive experience, not a ham-fisted tour). I sorely want this project to win not only because he wanted it to win, but as someone who cared in a real way for Prince. He changed my life. Being in Paisley Park could have that effect on everyone who walked in the doors if they…
1) Stop lying about the rooms being untouched.
I know you don’t mean all of them, but even the ones you’re advertising as untouched have been manipulated (and by extension, so have we. Not cool). I’d rather you touch them by putting even more stuff in them.  I don’t need to see a dirty plate or anything. I’d settle for some insight into his record collection, or some more instruments. The cat carriers are cute, but not canon, yo. We’ve figured out that cat been gone. Quit trying to play with our emotions.

2) Stop being stingy.
This is my biggest gripe. There isn’t enough stuff on display, period. For someone who supposedly had 200 guitars, I think I saw 10. More costumes, more instruments, more memorabilia, more pictures…more everything, please. I had more – and more unique – posters in my dorm room. And why am I seeing posters at all? I should be seeing props, not stuff I already own. Half of these rooms should feel like the junky dressing room in Purple Rain. Remember how eclectic and wild that room was? Break out the puppets and masks, yo. Get a little funky with it.

pruplerain_dressingroom

3) Let it be free roaming, like an actual museum.
The guided tours are largely being led by well-meaning but uninformed folks who (sometimes) have better stories when you pull them to the side than the script they have to give. Q&A in some of the areas was painful for super-fans. You’ve stripped it down to child-safe levels anyway, so you might as well let us just walk around until we see everything. I know you want to get us for a VIP ticket and “extra content”, but…

4) Make VIP a real thing.
Being VIP supposedly adds more time on the tour with a professional guide, with the lone photo opportunity being to take a picture with a piano that a thousand people are going to have. Add some real value to this level: access to other spaces, multiple photo ops, access to other unreleased music…you know, stuff you can’t just walk into. The tickets are still reasonable to me, but ultimately there wasn’t much stopping someone who wasn’t VIP from accessing the VIP tour anyway.

5) More music.
If you’re on a Paisley Park tour you probably already own most of his music. If we get to go into his studios, we want to feel like we’re really in there. The curators already let a little of this happen in one studio, where they play a snippet of a song off of Tidal, and another actually unreleased track for about 30 seconds. The studios are the heart of Paisley Park. It’s where the Prince we love did all the stuff we love him for. Amplify this with more unreleased music. It doesn’t have to be pristine. We’re a thirsty lot.

paisleypark_studio

6) More video.
Considering his private (“untouched!”) editing bay is one of the first things you see on the tour, there should be more video playing in general. And not just loops of music videos, but concerts (of which there is some), interviews, and other stuff we’ve heard about but never seen. There are thousands of hours of footage in that complex. There should be video almost everywhere you turn. One of the stops is in a private watching room. There are TVs in almost every room. Turn the TVs on and let some stuff play as we come through.

7) Get some larger shirts.
Even the XXL shirts were pretty small. I’m sure that’s fine for Prince on his off days, but real XXL folks are putting those shirts in memory quilts when we want to wear them.

8) Get some anecdotes from the people who know.
One of the unexpected benefits to opening up Paisley Park as a museum is all of the people who were there over the years while Prince was alive giving insight into aspects of the space that are impossible to glean out of the tour. Was the NPG Music Club really where he partied? Where was the basketball hoop? Where did rehearsals take place, and what were they like? Some video clips of interviews would be nice, and it would cut down on the number of embarrassing Q&A moments between super-fans and tour guides trying to answer these questions.

9) Light the skylights.
If it’s true that the pyramids on top of Paisley Park would light up whenever Prince was present, then keep them on. All the time. Forever.

paisley-park_birdseyeview

Extra Credit:

– Some Graffiti Bridge stuff would be nice.
To be clear: This one makes me feel a little dirty to propose, so much so I couldn’t justify it on the proper list. Graffiti Bridge was a project whose importance we would all do well to not exaggerate. That said, he created the film in Paisley Park. Talk about speaking truth to power. If there is anything floating around from this film in terms of props you’d do well to put it on display. He put all his eggs in that basket at the time and a jacket is hardly worthy of capturing that effort (assuming everything wasn’t chucked into the dumpster after it flopped).

 

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17 thoughts on “How Paisley Park Can Be a Better Museum

  1. No.No.No !! All items will be on a rotation at future dates I’m sure. Its NOT ABOUT US OR WHAT WE WANT. Were fans but NO SELF GUIDED TOURS PERIOD !! Already people are showing disrespect in Facebook pics laying across the piano putting their coat on it…items fade with light so too many on display damages their potential for the future…THINK & RESPECT.

  2. “Light the skylights.
    If it’s true that the pyramids on top of Paisley Park would light up whenever Prince was present, then keep them on. All the time. Forever.”

    Well this made me cry… well good article, thank you O(+>

    1. I agree, more music, more videos. Show, show, show. I would love to see an interactive video room where you can put on headphones and conjure up whatever strikes your fancy!

      I actually disagree with one thing here…I conducted a survey with fans and handed it to the people in charge before the museum opened and the feeling was unanimous, the pyramids should be off. He isn’t home, he has transcended to another place. 😥

      Also I’m surprised there is no mention of the huge wall that is still a possibility of being built around PP making it like a compound. THAT would ruin everything it is meant to be.

  3. I wanted more too but I plan in visiting many times in the future, so rotating things is what will keep each visit a new experience each time. I personally was at Paisley Park for over 5 hours. I was so at awe being in this place. Even though I know things weren’t as they were like they said, I didn’t care. I felt his presence at every turn. The only thing that bothered me was the tour guides with no knowledge of the true Prince experience. They should give a test for people to work there. That was the most disappointing part of the tour for me. Thankfully my best friend and I were on our own for a long period of time and I know in the future they’ll be stricker. #prince4ver #peaceandbwild

  4. I love the light idea as well it is his resting place it should forever stay on. Great idea!
    On the other areas I was just completely honored to be in his surroundings. There was moments I felt very sad, to other parts I felt overwhelmed by it all. To other parts I was overcomed by complete happiness and joy. Like I really couldn’t be any more happy then at that moment. I loved how our guide gave us time in each room. I never felt rushed. But I do think and thought even Prince would say “this is the best you could find?” In telling his story or about his life. Not all the guides but a few I was left scratching my head on. Overall I want to go back again and again. And I hope one day they open up the second level of this place. I truly want to see it all!!!

    1. I think his personal space should be off limits. He was so private,i don’t think he would want it shown either

    2. I HOPE THEY OPEN UP THE 2ND LEVEL AS WELL TO HAVE THE FULL FEELING OF HIM…I TRULY WOULD LOVE TO THE CLOSET THAT CAN HOLD 3,000 PAIR OF SHOES THAT IS MY DREAM CLOSET…AN YES WAY MORE IS TO COME WHEN AL ROKER DID THE TOUR THE DAY B4 OPENING ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA PP REP STATED BY THE TIME IT’S DONE ALL OF 6,000 COSTUMES WILL B ON DISPLAY HE KEPT EVERY DRUM KIT FROM EACH BAND HE HAD ALL OF THAT WILL B DISPLAY AS WELL..PRINCE AN HIS HAIR STYLIST KIM BERRY HAD ALREADY STARTED TAGING AN CATALOGING HIS THINGS. EVERYONES TO REMEBER THIS WAS SET UP VERY FAST TO GENERATE MONEY FOR LEGAL FEES AN PAISLEY PARK PROPERITY TAXES DUE IN JANUARY. THE INVESTIGATION IS STILL ONGOING UNTIL THAT ENDS AN TAXES R SETTTLE THEN THE FAMILY GOES THE COURT TO SEE WHAT IS DIVIDED AMONG THEM…SO THE MONEY FOR ALL OF THIS HAS TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE. I AM CHILLIN IAM NOT GOING OVERBOARD I’VED LOVED PRINCE I WAS 12 I AM 47 I AM WAITING TILL EVERYTHING IS DONE AS HE WISHED IT TO B. HIS 2014 CONCERT IN AMSTERDAM DURING PURPLE RAIN THE LAST SONG OF THE NITE HE WAS TELLING THE STORY ON HOW PP CAME TO B HE GAVE EVERYONE AN OPEN INVITATION THE ONLY THING HE ASK IS FOR EVERYONE TO RESPECT HIS HOUSE….NOW I DO HOPE THE GIFT SHOP OPENS UP ONLINE IF NOT WHEN I DO GET THERE AN BUY THE ENTIRE SHOP MY AIRLINE FEE BACK HOME WILL B OFF THE CHAIN…

  5. Knowledgeable tour guides should be the first priority and they should all be telling the same factual story. They can make or break a tour experience. I look forward to visiting Paisley Park next year. I’m glad it’s been officially approved.

  6. Do something more tasteful with the Urn…I can see Prince’s face now smirking at the silly Paisley dollhouse. Place it inside the symbol embedded in the floor or something…

  7. Thank you for taking the time to offer real suggestions. Am emontioally not ready to make the tour this year but will plan for sometime next year. Hoping by then things will have smooth out but nonetheless am certain I will be completely overwhelmed just knowing am walking the halls as Prince.

  8. I took the 4th tour at Pasley Park and I have to say I was overwhelmed by the experience. Just to be in his home among his things, I couldn’t have been happier. With a tour guide or without, basketball hoop or not I loved walking amongst his belongs. Remember, the counsel had originally only approved the museum to be open for a few tours. Now that it’s been approved to be open indefinitely, I’m sure they will do more to improve the super fans experience their. I definitely will go back and even if it’s left the same way, I feel lucky and honored to have been there in the first place. 💜

  9. I agree win leaving the pyramid lights on all night. He’s there I. Spirit and his remains as well so put a timer in the lights to come on at dusk and go off at daylght. 💜☔️

  10. Prince is home and that’s all that matters. I’m so happy his ashes are in his home. We need to respect his home and his family. I would love to be able to go, just to say a prayer. I don’t think people should touch anything that belong to Prince. I do agree it should be lite up because he is home. Thank you to Tyka, for allowing “friends” into his home. Yes they have to charge, it cost money to leave his home running. I’m glad they chose to keep it and share with us.

  11. I agree with the idea that the pyramids should be continually lit purple………..at least at night time. I also wanted to say that I am so very grateful that Tyka and the rest of his family made the decision to allow his ashes to be in repose at Paisley Park. I remember when I heard that when the remains had been cremated, that their whereabouts were initially going to “remain private”. I felt like my heart had broken again because the fans were not even allowed to have a moment of closure; but I am so happy that is not going to be the case. I’m be making my pilgrimage to Paisley Park on March 23, staying at the Chanhassen Hotel and Suites just down the road, for four nights. One idea that I had: It would be so awesome if at least one of Prince’s family members were present at each of the tours, so that condolences could be offered…including Sheila E or any of the members of his band. That would be such a blessing to me, anyway. Thanks for a great article.

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