Museum That Hosted Aretha Franklin’s Public Visitation Opens THINK Exhibit In Her Honor

The “Queen of Soul” may have left us earlier this year, but a museum in Detroit that hosted a public visitation for Aretha Franklin says it intends to continue honoring her with a new exhibit opening this week.

THINK is a “tribute to the Queen of Soul,” according to curators at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History located in Detroit, Michigan. The exhibit opens on Tuesday to the public and features myriad items from the diva’s career, including the red dress and red shoes she wore after her death while patrons of the museum paid their respects earlier this summer, reported the Chicago Tribune.

The exhibit itself is just a preview of things to come. The Wright Museum said it’s also planning a larger exhibit to debut in late 2019 or early 2020 that will further encapsulate Franklin’s storied career. It’s also possible that they’ll open a separate museum dedicated just to Franklin.

“My aunt used to always talk about having a Franklin family museum. That’s not on the immediate horizon, but I thought this would be a good start to it,” Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece, said.

She added that the museum’s exhibit would serve to show who Franklin was — not just showing items that made her iconic, but also highlighting the way in which she chose to live her life.

“This mirrors the way she was — keep on adding things to a collection, giving people something different to look forward to — just goes along with who she was as a person,” Owens added. “She just always wanted to change, keep herself relevant.”

In addition to her red dress and the shoes she wore during the visitation, the exhibit will also feature video highlights from significant performances in her career. One video, the museum said, would include Franklin singing “Think” from her performance in the movie Blues Brothers.

There will be other items included in the exhibit, such as a photograph image of her singing “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” at the 2009 inauguration of former President Barack Obama, as well as a copy of the first record she recorded in Detroit.

Franklin’s body was laid in rest at the Wright Museum for two days, about two weeks after her death on August 16. During that time, around 31,000 individuals came to pay their respects, the museum said.

“We’re trying to continue from the viewing the emotional experience we witnessed — see the emotional connection people had with the Queen and allow people to feel that,” the Wright Museum’s CEO George Hamilton said.

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