“It’s my favourite exhibit – the guitar he bought here and rebuilt,” Oskar Hentschel, one of the three museum founders told The Local.
“He bought an acoustic guitar and worked on it himself, turning it into a semi-acoustic – so it could be played with a small amplifier. We even managed to find his amplifier too, from a different collector, and they both work,” Hentschel said. “He played it while he was here so his fingers did not get stiff and he would not embarrass himself when he went back to America to record an album.”
Elvis spent 17 months in Germany from 1958 until 1960, based at the American army base in Bad Nauheim-Friedberg, Hesse. It was the longest time he spent anywhere outside America, said Hentschel.
As well as a large collection of photos of The King, the museum has oddities such as two bibles which belonged to the Presley family in 1870, and his mother’s diary from the year he was born 1935, as well as book he was given for his 12th birthday – with his childish signature.
Other exhibits include pieces of his clothing, stage outfits and even things he wore in films as well as parts of his army uniform and kit. Documents include letters and song lyrics, while there are also books, pieces of jewellery, a television and sports gear as well as the red bicycle he owned as a teenager.
Curator Torsten Meck told The Local, “Elvis was one of the artists of the 20th century who clearly changed things. When he came here in 1958, he showed German teenagers another world, where there was dancing, going out and different ways of communicating.
“People were electrified – young people had been just hanging around on the streets, there was nothing to do, nowhere to go, but he showed them a different life. He really spoke to the younger generation, although the older generation did not appreciate it, of course.”