“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave 'em all over everything you do” Elvis Presley
Maybe it was wrong to come to Graceland with expectations. But my expectations were not grand; I assumed a visit to Graceland would at the least teach me something new about the star and at best inspire me to buy a cd. I would be lying if I didn’t say I learned something new about Elvis. I did. He was graceful in his charitable contributions. He loved his fans. And he loved fried peanut butter banana sandwiches. But the experience at Graceland lacks the personal touch and attention to details that are needed to leave the casual tourist passing through Memphis with a sense of wonderment or inspiration. To say Graceland is somber would be wrong. Graceland is depressing. The employees never smile. The roads leading to Graceland are surrounded by poverty. And the way the curator has set up the cattle like movement through the exhibits makes you feel more like an intruder.
Get rid of the audio tour and staff exhibits and rooms with human beings who recount the history and answer questions. Heck, the price they charge to see Graceland could easily cover this request. Have a theater that plays a mini documentary that educates the casual fan before they even set foot into the mansion, or the planes, or the garages that house the cars. And get rid of the parking fee.
Elvis said your values are left all over what you do. If he believed this at all, the curator of Graceland needs to make the tribute more grand, more personal, and more philanthropic. Graceland brought me down. But when I paddled later that evening in Alabama, all good was restored.