While speaking on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. You can relive history here by visiting the balcony and Dr. King's room, restored as it was when he was here to support the sanitation workers' strike. Through interactive multimedia exhibits you participate in the civil rights movement and learn its history from the 1600s through Rosa Parks and the freedom riders until today.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located on the site of Stax Records which is known to have much significance in the music industry. The company is known to have launched the careers of many successful musicians. There are around 2000 exhibits that include videos, artifacts, films, photographs, and more. Apart from the exhibits, the museum regularly plays host to events like live concerts, educational programs, and fundraisers.
The Dixons were a childless couple who collected art, both fine and decorative and left it all to the city when they died. The travelling exhibits, are often spectacular and have included Faberge eggs, glassworks by Seattle artist Dale Chihuly, and an explosion of color from Raoul Dufy. The 17-acre (7-hectare) garden is usually open for strolling, except during outdoor concerts, picnics, or theater productions. The museum shop often has items from Memphis' Great Wonders exhibits! The museum is free for everyone on every Saturday between 10 am to noon.
Memphis' main museum is housed in a marble building completed in 1916. The architecturally beautiful rooms house an outstanding collection of medieval art and a small but worthwhile collection of Impressionist works. One room is dedicated to a "touch" exhibit for vision-impaired visitors. Temporary exhibits include a patriotic show held during the Memphis in May Festival. The restaurant, the Brushmark, is a fine place to lunch, especially when the outside patio is open, which looks out on Overton Park.
This tiny house stands as a reminder of both a dark period in American history and the efforts of many to remedy the wrongs of slavery. A merchant named Jacob Burkle, who ran a stockyard before the American Civil War, provided a haven for many runaway slaves on their journey through the Underground Railroad. Here you can see where they waited for the instructions that helped them find their way across the Mississippi River to freedom.
Once home to music legend Elvis Presley, Graceland epitomizes the flamboyant style that the unforgettable seventies packed in. Life came a full circle for the King of Rock 'n' Roll when he purchased this Colonial Revival house in Memphis from Stephen Toof, a way of honoring the city that fed his musical ambitions and set him on his way to becoming a rising star. Rumoured to be the second most-visited house in the United States, Graceland is preserved exactly as it was when Elvis lived here. Elvis Presley bought this 13.8 acre (5.6 hectares) estate in 1957 and spent a large part of his life expanding and improving the opulent property. On the boulevard named after the legend himself, a sleek entertainment complex and adjoining visitors centre feed Elvis' fans still-extant frenzy through a wealth of displays and exhibits that revolve around the musician's life. The Elvis Entertainer Career Museum highlights the main aspects of his singing career, and display his most iconic sartorial collections, while the Automobile Museum showcases the stunning fleet of cars that Elvis rode in, from the Cadillac Eldorado to the Stutz Blackhawk. On August 16, the anniversary of Elvis' death, a candlelight vigil draws worldwide fans to this exceptional monument.
For an educational outing and a dose of local culture, visit the Mississippi River Museum. The exhibits here cover 10,000 years of history of the Lower Mississippi River, making for a unique mix of exhibits. Artifacts shown range from Native American tools and pottery to Victorian furniture and 20th Century instruments. It's a great field trip destination and a place that visitors to Memphis must go to in order to learn about the rich heritage of the area.
Located in downtown Memphis, The Cotton Museum explores an integral part of the South's history. It is located on what used to be the trading floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange. There are interactive exhibits to keep kids interested as well as archives for research purposes. The exhibits in the museum cover a broad range of topics, including the economic, social, and cultural impacts of the cotton industry.
Peabody Place is part of an ambitious downtown renewal effort that includes complexes of restaurants, shops and apartments. Developer Jack Belz and his wife Marilyn have put their private collection of Chinese art on display for the public in a 7500 square-foot (232 square-meter) gallery. Some of the ivory and jade pieces date back to the Manchu Dynasty of the 17th Century. Stroll around Peabody Place and see what is attracting new residents to the downtown area.
This 1870s house is part of Victorian Village, where Memphis homes dating from the 1800s have been preserved and restored. In addition to the furniture and decorative arts displayed inside, the house also has an exhibit of clothing from the Victorian era. Look at the cinched waists and layers of velvet and wonder how the Victorian ladies survived the hot Memphis summers. Tours are held every half hour.
If you wanted to see how Memphis looked like about six or seven decades earlier, Withers Collection Museum & Gallery is the right place to head to. The museum has a wide and varied collection by Ernest C. Withers. There are photographs that represent the city's political dynamics, African-American lifestyles, and the changes in the social lives of people. The museum offers guided tours and group tours as well.
Highlights of the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum's permanent collection include several Elvis costumes, B.B. King's guitar (affectionately called "Lucille" by the legendary musician), and Dick Clark's American Bandstand podium. The museum also offers special temporary exhibits. The museum is available for private parties and events.