During Aretha Franklin’s 76 years, the singer rose to an international stardom. The gospel-singing powerhouse seemed destined for the title “Queen of Soul” at an early age; her bigger than life voice reverberating against the walls of Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist, the church where her father was a minister. Franklin’s death this past August reminded metro Detroiters of the mark that she left not only on the world, but specifically the Motor City.
With the Detroit Historical Museum’s newly opened retrospective, titled Aretha, museum-goers can learn about Franklin, her success as a genre-re-defining artist, and her civil rights and women’s rights efforts. The exhibit boasts one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as a complete record collection from her storied career, including her first album I Will Trust in the Lord, Vols. 1 and 2, which were recorded when Franklin was only 14 years old. Also included in the collection is a vintage lacquer record pressing of her hit “Respect,” a slab of cement bearing Franklin’s hand prints, rare concert footage, and a floor-length, crystal encrusted gown she wore in concert.
The exhibit, which will be on display through summer 2019, is located in the Kid Rock Music Lab, an interactive space that recounts Detroit’s music legacy. There is no cost for admission.