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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.
The National Ornamental Metal Museum is the only one in the country dedicated to ornamental metalwork. Exhibits often include such diverse objects as silver tea services, swords, jewelry and weathervanes. See a blacksmith at work forging works of art. An annual exhibit in May features the fantastic devices people use to barbecue, timed to coincide with the Memphis in May Barbecue Contest. The museum is set in a lovely spot on the banks of the Mississippi, and the lawns are sometimes used for weddings and other private parties.
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.
In honor of the ancient Egyptian counterpart to the modern American city of Memphis, the local university maintains a museum featuring a good representation of the usual items from the City by the Nile, including a mummy, papyrus, and various implements and household goods. Another permanent exhibit is the Spirit of Africa, which has artifacts and sculptures from West Africa. In addition - and somewhat unexpectedly - the museum houses an interesting collection of miniatures of American furniture and a good smattering of American and European prints.
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.
This gallery is in the middle of an upscale strip mall on the well travelled Poplar corridor. It often features local up and coming artists such as Peter Bowman, art instructor at the Memphis University School for boys and photography artist Huger Foote. Other established artists, such as the nationally acclaimed local artist Carrol Cloar who passed away in 1993, are also represented here. Exhibit openings at David Lusk Gallery feature wine and the chance to rub elbows with knowledgeable art patrons.