Franklin, whose voice became an inspiration for dozens of other singers, was also She has been committed to civil rights throughout her life and famously sang at President Obama's inauguration in 2009.
Court documents show the I Say a Little Prayer legend had no will at the time of her death, reports U.S. entertainment website TMZ.
"She's the Queen", said Howard, 50, who arrived at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
"I wanted to be a part of the homegoing for Ms. Franklin", she said. "She went through the back door so people who look like me could go through the front door".
The shiny box - inscribed inside with The Queen of Soul in small gold letters - was surrounded by a spray of soft-pink and lavender-coloured roses.
She said that the love between Franklin, her family and fans was typical, and she felt she had to be present to honor the legendary singer. Her jewelry was custom made for the occasion.
They queued down the street and around the block before the museum opened with a steady flow trickling inside by mid-morning, an AFP reporter said. She was in repose, dressed in red from head to high-heeled shoes, legs crossed at the ankles. "I loved to play her songs". "Think" is billed as "a tribute to the Queen of Soul", and is scheduled to run from September 21 to January 21, 2019.
"What you see with her is what you get", Owens said.
Sixty-four-year Detroit resident Cheryl Matthews attended the viewing and says it was "fit for a Queen".
More 100 pink Cadillacs will be on hand for Aretha Franklin's funeral on Friday, Aug. 31, according to WXYZ. "She would take care of the expenses - and usually in full without being asked or prompted to do so". "She touched so many people and it's just a blessing", he told Local 4 News.
Owens stressed that the viewing and other events could not happen without a group she calls "Aretha's angels". She said she couldn't miss today's services.