A while ago there was some concern among fans that the jumpsuits were not preserved correctly and should be preserved behind glass. We did a quickpoll to find out the fan's opinion. Not less than 93% of our visitors think that Elvis’ jumpsuits should be preserved behind glass. Let’s hope that EPE will listen to this plea.
EPE reacted to the fans' concern on this matter on the [fan club] Presidents Forum:
Recently many of you have voiced your concerns about the jumpsuit exhibit in the racquetball building. These concerns are understandable and, ultimately, they stem from your genuine love for Elvis and your respect for his belongings and what these items represent.
Before expanding our exhibits on the mansion grounds in 2000,we did a tremendous amount of research and consulted other museums and field experts who had all the latest information on textile conservation and exhibition. Through all of this research we found that open-air exhibition of textiles is not uncommon in many of our nation's museums. However, before installing such an exhibition we knew that to create a proper open-air exhibit we needed to develop a proactive conservation plan.
We developed a conservation plan which included a cleaning and rotation schedule that would head off any problems or preservation issues we might face when doing an open-air exhibit like the one we have in the racquetball building. We took into consideration the material we were dealing with, the environment we wanted to use as an exhibit space, lighting issues, etc. And from that we developed a conservation plan that includes tracking the temperature and humidity levels in all our exhibit spaces, weekly cleaning of the garments, yearly rotation of the items and daily monitoring of all our exhibits. We also consult with outside specialists on specific needs when they arise. Textile cleaning is a very important part of our conservation plan and, in asking several textile experts, we have been advised that vacuuming with a suction-controlled archival vacuum is the best and least abrasive way to clean textiles.
However, times change and as with everything there is more information and knowledge out there than ever before. Experts opinions vary and what was acceptable five or ten years ago might not be acceptable now. That is why we never stop asking the important questions and throughout the past few years have continued to evaluate all of our exhibits to see how we could better enhance not only the exhibit, but also the continuous preservation of our collection.
Every fall/winter, as the tourist season slows down, we take advantage of this time to implement any exhibit changes, address any maintenance issues, etc. We have plans in the upcoming months to move forward on several projects that not only will enhance all of the exhibit spaces, but also will continue to address concerns about the long-term conservation of Elvis's jumpsuits. These plans include new and improved exhibits in the Hall of Gold and all of the trophy building as well as adding exhibit cases to a new "Concert Experience" in the racquetball building and a completely new "Elvis in Memphis" exhibit in the Sincerely Elvis Museum. All of this has been in planning and development for some time.
Another important part of our long-term conservation plan is to continue with our yearly rotation of textiles / exhibits. In the past we maintained that all of
the supporting artifacts, jumpsuits, etc. were to be rotated out yearly, but there were a few key pieces that would be on exhibit at all times. These items included the gold lame' suit, all of the '68 Special costumes, The American Eagle jumpsuit and the Aztec Sun jumpsuit. As we implement our updated conservation plan these items now will be included in on-and-off-exhibit rotation to ensure their longevity, as these are some of the most valuable parts of our collection. Thus, one or more of these key items might be in storage when you visit, but not all will be rotated off exhibit at the same time. When not on display they still will be represented on the tour in some form, either through photography or video.
Please rest assured that we are serious about conservation and maintaining an even balance between preservation of our collection and exhibiting items for our visitors to enjoy. As always, our study of the latest information is ongoing and the concerns that you have voiced are our concerns as well.
Our new quickpoll is about Elvis In Concert. It is coming to Europe again, and several fans from other continents have complained, saying that Elvis The Concert should really tour the world and visit every continent. So the question for our poll is: “Elvis The Concert should play each continent at least once”.