Motown Museum closed for weekend after staff member tests positive for COVID

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Detroit's beloved Motown Museum will be closed until next week after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

The weekend closure -- the museum is already typically closed Monday through Wednesday -- didn't affect plans on Friday for special Marvin Gaye-themed tours in honor of the 50th anniversary of the late soul singer's landmark album, "What's Going On." The tours were sold out in a matter of days.

"Motown Museum has placed the health and safety of our guests and staff as our top priority since the COVID-19 pandemic began over a year ago," said Paul Barker, the museum's director of development and community activation. "Immediately upon receiving word that one of our staff members contracted the virus, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel tours for the weekend due to staffing levels."

Since January, the Motown Museum, which includes the Hitsville studio where Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" was recorded, has been holding events in honor of the albums 50th anniversary.

To accommodate Friday's tours, Barker said the museum realigned members of its staff from other departments so they could proceed as planned.

"Vaccinated members of our staff — who normally serve in a variety of roles —  are working in the museum to cover today’s needs to allow our patrons to safely enjoy their tours as planned," said Barker.

The weekend closure foiled the plans of at least one family who flew from Texas to Detroit specifically to visit the museum. 

Lyrik Walker of Dallas and three other family members got word late Thursday that the museum would be closed for the weekend. Their flight was early Friday morning so they flew in anyhow.

"If accommodations were made for the special event to happen on Friday, then they could’ve gave our family other options in order to attend today as well since we planned our whole entire trip around Motown," said Walker. "...I honestly don’t know the next time that we’ll be in Detroit."

Motown staff said tickets were refunded for all guests who had tours planned this weekend. The museum, located at   2648 West Grand Boulevard, will reopen Thursday.