Direct From Graceland: Exclusive Curator Event
Venue: Arches London Bridge
Cast: N/A

Recently extended to September 2024, Direct from Graceland gives Londoners the chance to get a glimpse of Elvis’ collection in a way that has never been done before in Europe. With over 400 artefacts on display, exhibitgoers will walk away knowing more about the King of Roll and Roll than they ever thought they could.  

The exclusive curator event includes a private talk featuring Graceland curator Angie Marchese, a White Glove Experience with exclusive artefacts that rarely leave Graceland, exhibition entry and a drink.

Going into this presentation of new Elvis artefacts, I knew as much about Elvis as the average American in their mid-twenties. I grew up hearing my grandparents’ Elvis stories, and I enjoyed listening to his hits such as “Jailhouse Rock" and "Can't Help Falling in Love”. By the end of the night, I had gained an appreciation of both the man and the musician that was Elvis Presley. 

Graceland’s Vice President of Archives and Exhibits Angie Marchese said near the start of her presentation, “An archivist’s job is to tell stories,” and I’m sure that I’m not the first to say that she is fantastic at her job. I was hooked by every story she told about every one of the artefacts. She was so engaging with the audience, answering all of their questions and taking time to make sure she had conversations with everyone. 

My favourite story of hers was when she talked about when she started in the archives, and while the other archivists were labelling a vest as simply “Elvis’ vest”, she spoke about how this was worn at a specific show, and how pictures and details of the vest showed it. These were more than just artefacts, they were pieces of history that told the story of the King of Rock and Roll. Her love of preserving Elvis’ story was palpable. This presentation may have been about Elvis, but Angie was truly the star of the show. 

The artefacts themselves were so interesting, and I definitely had a few favourites. The TCB Ring (made even more fascinating after learning its history from Angie) was massive and so heavy! I can't imagine how he would wear that and a few other rings alongside it. The golden social security card just made me laugh because only Elvis would have something as flashy as this. In the same vein, I also loved his Stutz car key, because again, only Elvis would have a golden car key engraved with his name. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be Elvis’ Grammy. It is so different from the Grammy’s we see given out today, and it is so interesting that he didn't win it for any of his rock and roll albums, but for a cover of “How Great Thou Art”. My only complaint would be that we were (understandably) not allowed to hold it. 

I wanted to give a special mention to the staff. They took their jobs very seriously, and I could tell how important it was for them to care for the pieces. They made sure everyone was wearing their gloves while holding the pieces, and that they were holding the artefacts correctly. But the staff also wanted to make sure that guests had the best experience possible. They were taking photos for everyone and making sure guests were happy with their pictures. One girl helped me pose with Elvis’ sunglasses to get the best shot. The staff were so kind and helpful, and they definitely made the experience better. 

You can book tickets to Direct From Graceland: Exclusive Curator Event, here.

Review by Becca

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