Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum#9 in Best Things To Do in Memphis
If you're a fan of soul music or rock 'n' roll and want to learn more about how Memphis played a part in the roots of these genres, you should consider adding the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum to your itinerary. Exploring Memphis' musical influence, from the rural field hollers and sharecroppers of the 1930s to the emergence of Sun, Stax and Hi Records, this Smithsonian Institution affiliate offers visitors a comprehensive Memphis music experience. With the help of an audio guide, travelers can explore seven galleries featuring more than 30 instruments, 40 costumes and 100 songs.
Recent visitors said this museum helps put Memphis' musical history in context and said the "sound comes alive" thanks to the variety of artifacts and details on display here. Some were a little unimpressed with its size and said they expected more considering it's affiliated with Smithsonian. Still, even with its relatively small size, travelers found the museum fascinating. And with its central location on Beale Street, you can easily swing by some of the city's other top attractions before or after your museum visit.
You'll find the museum in downtown Memphis on Beale Street, across from the Gibson Guitar store. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (the last tour takes place at 6:15 p.m.). Admission costs $12.50 for adults and $9.50 for visitors ages 5 to 17. Kids 4 and younger get in free. The complimentary Sun Studio Shuttle, which runs seven days a week, picks up and drops off hourly from the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, Graceland, Sun Studio and Heartbreak Hotel. For more information, visit the museum's website.
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#1 National Civil Rights Museum - Lorraine Motel
Recent travelers agreed the National Civil Rights Museum should be at the top of anyone's list of things to see in Memphis. Housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, the museum features multimedia presentations on the civil rights movement. With the help of 260 artifacts, more than 40 films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts, visitors are guided through five centuries of history. During your self-guided tour, you'll view artifacts paramount to the movement, such as a Greyhound bus ridden by Freedom Riders. You'll also have the chance to see King's motel room, where he spent his final hours.
Reviewers described the museum as "surreal" and "incredbily moving." They went on to note the staging of the exhibits is "top-notch" and said the museum helped put seminal events of the period into context for a better overall understanding of the movement. Visitors should budget at least two to three hours to tour the entire facility. The museum is also a featured stop on many of the best Memphis tours.
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