Tuesday, July 13, 2010

5ive Questions for... Lina Stephens

Today we launch a new regular interview column in which we ask five questions of someone whose life has somehow intersected with the music of the Jackson 5. We begin our series with Lina Stephens, curator of the Jackson 5 exhibit at the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit, Michigan.

Photo by Gloria Rzucidlo / © AmericaJR.com

On June 29, the Museum opened a special Jackson 5 exhibit, which will be on display through October. At this time, the Museum has no plans for a permanent J5 display, due to space limitations. But they hope to expand some day so that they can have permanent displays for many Motown artists.

What could a visitor expect to find in the Jackson 5 exhibit?
The exhibit is a bit of a chronology of the group's time at Motown Record Corporation, from getting their audition, and clearing up who did, in fact, bring the group to the attention of Motown.

How did the Museum acquire the J5 items it has?
We have a uniform belonging to Michael Jackson that he donated at the same time he donated the hat & glove he said he wore at Motown 25th Anniversary Special. We have a set of uniforms from the Goin' Back to Indiana special which are on long-term loan from the Universal Music Group. The other items are part of the items that our founder, Esther Gordy Edwards, had as a Motown Record Corporation, Senior Vice President.

How did you go about selecting the items to put on exhibit to showcase the group?
I started with my basic story and the special pieces in the collection that would best tell the story. I was looking for some special items to borrow from collectors, but had very little luck with that.

Is there anything you found that surprised you, or that you think would surprise a J5 fan?
There was nothing that surprised me, it just made me remember stuff I had not thought about in a while. It made me remember some good music and where I was when I heard some special J5 tunes.

What is it that a fan could only experience by going to museum in person?
Being in the place where history was created, not a replica.

Lina Stephens makes the final adjustments
on Jermaine's outfit from Goin' Back to Indiana

* * * * *

If you visit:

Summer Hours (July through August)
• Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
• Closed Sunday

Regular Hours
• Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
• Closed Sunday and Monday.

• Adults: $10.00 per person
• Seniors and children 12 & under: $8.00 per person

Want to support the Motown Historical Museum? If you can't visit the Museum in person, you can make a cash donation (the Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ), or shop at the online Shop-Around store.


  1. I think that was I would like more in this museum would be to stand up in that recording studio, and I think I would be very much interested to know what songs or albums they recorded there and how it was done. Otherwise, I honestly don't think this museum to be as .. erm.. worth seeing. mmm. I don't know, they don't seem to have much J5 items really.

    that michael orange and black suit is my favorite suit from that era. Some of their suits look like super hero suits. I wonder how it felt to wear that all the time and what they thought of some of their suits.

    It's also a bit surprizing that the suits apparently stayed owned by Motown, or did they?


  2. Nadine: it's a very small space. Once they can expand, they should be able to have more extensive exhibits.

    I think Motown probably owned the GBTI outfits because they created them for the special that they produced. What's amazing to me is that they saved them!