Explore the museums in Memphis and get a more enriching vacation experience. There are three museums that, when you’re visiting the city, you have to stop by. These museums are the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Of course, don’t forget to visit Graceland as well!
The National Civil Rights Museum—
This museum, located at the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, puts on display the important moments in the American civil rights movement. The museum aspires to spread the legacy of the movement and inspire others to participate in efforts to improve human and civil rights globally. Permanent exhibits at the museum include the “Unremitting Struggle” of the earliest slave revolts; “Protest,” which displays the boycotts, marches, sit-ins, workshops and other means to end military discrimination; “Montgomery Bus Boycott,” where there is a model of an actual bus in the museum that displays the struggles of Mrs. Rosa Parks; and the “Birmingham Jail,” or rather a replica of the jail cell.
The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum—
The birth of rock and soul music is displayed at this Memphis museum. There are seven galleries that visitors are able to explore at their own pace. Each of these exhibits brings musical history back to life. Galleries include “Rural Culture” and “Rural Music,” “Coming to Memphis,” “Soul Music,” “Social Changes” and the Bravo Gallery. The Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum was crated by the Smithsonian Institution to tell the story of musical pioneers.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music—
The legacy of Stax Records spans for over half a century, with artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Luther Ingram, Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby and Moms Mabley all kicking off their careers with the help of the company. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music opened in 2002 and has been attracting crowds from all over the country to come explore their exhibits, like the temporary “Wattstax: The Living Word.” This forty-year anniversary exhibit relives the concert event that brought Stax Records to the front of the line.
When you’re staying in Memphis to visit any of these museums or other activities, make sure you stay nearby for added convenience. The Rodeway Inn is less than half a mile from Stax, while the Best Western Gen X Inn is under two miles away. The Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis-Beale Street and Doubletree Hotel Memphis Downtown are both within walking distance of the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and the National Civil Rights Museum is close by the Peabody Memphis and the Sleep Inn at Court Square.
Memphis is filled with music and history, and anytime is the perfect time to visit the city to explore these exceptional museums. If you’ve ever been looking for a reason to visit the area, any or all of these three museums will give you that motive to go.