One of Prince’s last goals will come to pass after all. His home and studio complex, Paisley Park, will open as a museum in October, a fitting tribute to a man who left a giant impact that stretched beyond the world of music.
Tours of the 65,000-square-foot estate will begin Oct. 6, allowing those who buy tickets priced from $38.50 to $100 to view the recording studios, rehearsal areas and other work spaces used by Prince from the time he opened Paisley Park in the late-1980s until his death in April at age 57.
Paisley Park occupies a unique place in the hearts of Minnesota fans. A hometown son, Prince built his career in Minnesota and never left. Wherever in the world he traveled, home was always Chanhassen, where he would rest, regenerate, create and periodically reward faithful fans by opening up the park for impromptu parties and jam sessions.
That makes Paisley Park different even from places like Graceland. Elvis Presley and his extended clan lived at the Memphis estate for years, but it was not where Presley created most of his music. Paisley Park embodied Prince’s artistic spirit — from the studios where he rehearsed to the vaults where he kept unreleased works.
Close friends said that Prince long had a vision of Paisley Park as a museum and that he had spent years gathering memorabilia from a decadeslong career that included seven Grammys, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. What he did not do was create a will, which for a time appeared to leave his vision in jeopardy.
But now Prince’s family is working with the city of Chanhassen, where Mayor Denny Laufenburger has said he believes “the plans for Paisley Park are in full accordance with Prince’s wishes.” That is a welcome outcome from the tragic drug overdose death that took the artist far too early.
It is hoped that the family, in addition to offering public tours, will at some point make the studios available for music education and mentoring. Part of Prince’s legacy is the work he did to nurture other artists and mentor young performers. That work should go on, and there should be a place for it at Paisley Park.