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The Motown Museum’s ambitious $50 million expansion initiative has landed its first major backers: Ford Motor Co. and UAW-Ford, which have announced a $6 million investment in the project.

The announcement was made early Friday. As part of the arrangement, the upgraded Motown Museum will include a new state-of-the-art performance venue, the Ford Motor Company Theater, according to a release announcing the deal.

Last month, officials at the Motown Museum revealed plans for Hitsville’s overhaul and renovation, which would upgrade the current 10,000-square-foot building on West Grand Boulevard to a 50,000-square-foot attraction with new recording studios, interactive exhibits and an enlarged museum store.

No timeline was given for the project, which would sit on 10 city lots on Ferry Park behind the current building, real estate the museum acquired over the past 18 months.

Ford’s investment also will help fund educational efforts through the museum, according to a release.

“Motown and Ford Motor Co. have wide and deeply connected roots,” Motown Museum CEO and chairwoman Robin R. Terry said in a statement.

Detroit News Fine Arts Writer Michael H. Hodges contributed to this story.

agraham@detroitnews.com

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@grahamorama

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