The Tina Turner Museum in Brownsville, Tenn., is seeing a surge in visitors after her death, even staying open late on Wednesday night so fans could pay tribute.
"It's crazy around here," said Sonia Outlaw-Clark, executive director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center and the Tina Turner Museum. "There have been a few people leaving flowers."
The museum is just a few miles from where Tina Turner grew up in Nutbush, Tenn. The one-room museum is housed inside the singer's former schoolhouse, the restored Flagg Grove School. The school was built by her great uncle in 1889.
"It still has original floors, ceilings, and walls. It still has the desk and benches from the school," said Outlaw-Clark.
The museum is filled with Turner memorabilia such as her sparkling tour costumes, gold records, photos and artwork. They also have Turner's costume from the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
"My favorite piece is the [high school] yearbook because it shows her before she ever started her music career," said Outlaw-Clark. "They asked the students what they wanted to be, and she listed 'entertainer.' So we know she had aspirations of that even before she left Brownsville."
Turner was famous for her thrilling live performances and her powerful voice. But Outlaw-Clark told Morning Edition it's her life story that fans admire most.
"Her story of overcoming, becoming whatever you want to be," she said. "And making things happen regardless of where you came from or what your circumstances are." Celebrities all over the world have also paid tribute to Turner on social media. Public figures — from Beyonce Knowles-Carter to President Biden have written statements honoring the singer.
The Tina Turner Museum plans to host a twilight memorial on Sunday evening. The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center will also be hosting the Exit 56 Blues Fest this weekend. Outlaw-Clark expects attendance to double as more people pay tribute to Turner.
Ally Schweitzer edited the broadcast version of this story.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The museum dedicated to the late Queen of Rock 'n' Roll is just a few miles from where Tina Turner grew up in Nutbush, Tenn.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS")
IKE AND TINA TURNER: (Singing) They call it Nutbush. Oh, Nutbush.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Since the singer's death on Wednesday, the Tina Turner Museum in Brownsville, to be precise, has been busy - so busy that executive director Sonia Outlaw-Clark extended the museum hours.
SONIA OUTLAW-CLARK: It's crazy around here.
MARTIN: That's because hundreds of fans are crowding into a relatively small former schoolhouse.
OUTLAW-CLARK: It's a one-room African American schoolhouse that actually traces back to her great-uncle who built it, Benjamin Flagg. It still has original floors, ceilings, walls. It still has the desk and benches from the school, as well as the cubbies on the wall that the kids would have used for their books and their coats.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DRIFT AWAY")
IKE AND TINA TURNER: (Singing) Free my soul, rock 'n' roll. (Vocalizing).
MARTIN: And it's filled with Tina Turner memorabilia - costumes, awards, photos, artwork, and a piece of her grade school past.
OUTLAW-CLARK: My favorite piece is the yearbook because it shows her before she ever started her music career. But it also shows they asked the students what they wanted to be, and she listed entertainer. So we know she had aspirations of that even before she left Brownsville.
INSKEEP: She went on to thrill audiences with her voice and live performance.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BETTER BE GOOD TO ME")
TINA TURNER: (Singing) Oh, you better be good to me. That's how it's got to be now.
MARTIN: Outlaw-Clark says it's Turner's personal triumphs, especially her escape from an abusive husband and then her reinvention as a solo artist, that fans admire most.
OUTLAW-CLARK: Probably the biggest legacy that she's leaving - and I mean, you've got to be pretty big to top the music career - is her story, her story of overcoming, of becoming whatever you want to be, of hard work and making things happen regardless of where you came from or what your circumstances are.
INSKEEP: The Tina Turner Museum hosts a twilight memorial on Sunday.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BETTER BE GOOD TO ME")
TURNER: (Singing) Face to face, and you present your case. Yes, I know you keep telling me that you love me. And I really do want to believe. But did you think... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.