‘Wow, Prince is here’: musician’s Paisley Park estate reopens as a museum

Visitors from as far as London traveled to see the Minnesota mansion despite several days of uncertainty after the city council voted against a rezoning request

Karla Wennerstrom had been inside Paisley Park more times than she could count during Princes lifetime. On her visit on Thursday morning, as one of the first fans allowed in to the late musicians home and studio since his death, many things were left just the same as they had been.

But visitors also noticed a few new additions, including Princes urn.

We thought, Wow, Prince is here, said Chris Skluzacek, 44, of Montgomery, Minnesota. It just got silent. People were standing around. Some had tears in their eyes. I wasnt expecting that.

I was very curious and needed to see it, said Wennerstrom, 44, a Chanhassen resident. I just needed to see how it had changed.

Tours started on Thursday morning just before 9am when the complex opened temporarily as a museum, despite several days of uncertainty after the Chanhassen city council voted on Monday night against a rezoning request that would allow Princes estate to operate as a museum.

That vote came after plenty of fans had already bought tickets, costing either $38.50 for general admission or $100 for a VIP experience, through a website that offered the unprecedented opportunity to experience first-hand what it was like for Prince to create, produce and perform inside this private sanctuary and remarkable production complex.

By 9.20, some 150 fans had passed through the front door of the Purple Palace, with thousands expected to arrive by the end of the day. Visitors were funneled through an organized system of timed tickets and shuttle buses that transported people to and from a transit station about five minutes away.

Princes recording studio. Photograph: AP
At the Purple palaces entrance, Chanhassens Mayor Denny Laufenburger greeted ticket-holders. Many came streaked with purple on shirts, lips and eyelids.

Ticket-holders reported traveling from Los Angeles, New York, Texas, London, Chicago and plenty of locations around Minnesota, including Chanhassen, a suburb about 30 minutes west of Minneapolis, where Prince had long been a frequent part of the scenery.

Some visitors had traveled all night to get there. Many took time off work. I told them I had a family event, said Robert Croce, 55, a software consultant in St Paul. I dont think my boss knows Im here, added Rae Ann Prasinicki, 49.

The mood inside the building was solemn, quiet and respectful, said Dawn Morton, 47, of Waconia, Minnesota. It was good, she said. It was not rowdy.

Visitors were struck by unexpected details. Several fans mentioned the unusually small desk in Princes personal office, befitting the tiny musicians size. And the cafeteria offered the kind of healthy fare that Prince preferred, such as kale, beets and quinoa. Skluziacek marveled at the smell of the rooms, which reminded her of purple flowers.

On the way out, visitors carried purple plastic bags containing shirts, posters, guitar picks and other souvenirs purchased inside.

Wennerstroms bag included two pairs of purple ping pong balls.

He played ping pong, she said. I couldnt resist.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/06/prince-paisley-park-estate-museum-minnesota

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