In the past week, thousands of mourning fans have flocked to Paisley Park, the 65,000-square-foot Minnesota music factory where rock god Prince lived and died. Purple-hued memorials are piled up outside the white aluminum-and-metal mansion. Now, there are plans to turn the compound itself into a massive memorial museum for the musician. It could come to rival Graceland, Elvis Presley’s Memphis home-turned-museum, as a destination for rock pilgrimages.
“We will turn Paisley Park into a museum in Prince’s memory,” Maurice Phillips, Prince’s brother-in-law, told the Sun. “It would be for the fans. He was all about the fans — this would remember his music, which is his legacy. Prince was always private but would have wanted his music remembered.”
Paisley Park, the façade of which glowed purple whenever Prince was home, is nearly as mysterious as its owner. Only a few friends, fans, and journalists have seen its interior, and Prince forbade almost all visitors from photographing or recording while inside. “There was a whole mystique about Paisley Park. Everybody heard about it but no one was ever in there,” Kevin Mazur, who was one of the first photographers allowed to take photos inside the complex, told Entertainment Tonight. “It was totally surreal. … It was like a kid’s first time in Disneyland. I was like ‘Wait, I can go walk around and photograph anything?’”
Designed to Prince’s specifications by Boto Design Architects and completed in 1988, the compound’s boxy exterior is cold and bunker-like, but its interior is the stuff of legend. Visitors have described it as a series of labyrinthine corridors filled with heart-shaped mirrors, purple velvet sofas, and doves in cages. The largely windowless ground floor houses production facilities, including a sound stage, recording studios, a dance studio, a custom costume department, and a huge rehearsal hall. On the second floor, home to Prince’s living quarters and offices, there’s a purple-lit “relaxation room” and a “knowledge room” where Prince, a Jehovah’s Witness, studied spirituality.
The musician, who left no will, had plans for the compound’s future. “We’re hoping to make Paisley what [Prince wanted] it to be. [He] was working on it being a museum,” musician Sheila E., Prince’s longtime collaborator, told Entertainment Tonight. “He’s been gathering memorabilia and stuff from all the tours, like my drums and his motorcycle.”
Until details of plans for the museum are announced, devotees can listen to the song for which the compound was named, from the 1985 album Around the World in a Day. “Admission is easy, just say you believe,” go the lyrics. “And come to this place in your heart. Paisley Park is in your heart.”