On June 7, 1982, with the cutting of a blue ribbon by Elvis’ Aunt Delta and CEO Jack Soden, Elvis Presley’s Graceland opened to the public for tours. On that day in 1982, 3,034 fans paid the $5 admission fee for the opportunity to be the first to experience the place that the King of Rock 'n' Roll called home. Since then, Elvis’ beloved Memphis home has welcomed over 22 million guests from around the world, becoming the ultimate rock 'n' roll pilgrimage for music fans everywhere.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary, visitors on June 7, 2022, will experience the Graceland Mansion tour with live tour guides throughout the mansion, just as it was in 1982. In addition, the first 1,000 guests will also receive a 40th anniversary poster, featuring Graceland’s original opening day flyer artwork.
Other anniversary celebrations include the opening of a new exhibit at the Archives Experience in Elvis Presley’s Memphis called “Graceland, Welcome To My World.” The exhibit will explore the story of Elvis’ Graceland through photos, personal artifacts, and Graceland archival footage. Graceland will also be sharing newly shot interviews with Priscilla Presley and Jack Soden, talking about the decision to open Graceland and the early days of public tours.
In addition, Graceland will invite the millions of fans who have visited to share photos of their experience on social media on June 7, using #Graceland40.
When Elvis passed away in August of 1977, he could have left one of the great fortunes of entertainment history, had he been one to worry about financial planning, rather than freely enjoying and sharing his wealth as he did. While the estate he left was by no means broke, there was a cash flow problem, especially with Graceland costing over half a million dollars a year in maintenance and taxes. It seemed logical for Priscilla and the other two executors to open Graceland to the public. In late 1981, they hired Jack Soden, at the time a Kansas City, Missouri investment counselor, to plan and execute the opening of Graceland to the public and oversee the total operation. Soden continues today as Graceland’s President and CEO. Graceland welcomes over 500,000 visitors each year, is one of the most visited home tours in the United States and is the most famous home in America after The White House.