Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum

#10 in Best Things To Do in Memphis
Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum picture
Baxter Buck/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Key Info

826 N Second St.

Details

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.8scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

You'll get a different perspective of Memphis history if you spend some time at the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, which draws visitors back to the pre-Civil War era. Also known as the Burkle Estate (after the former owner, Jacob Burkle), the main house features artifacts portraying life in the South during the days of slavery. Also a stop along the Underground Railroad, the house is filled with secret passages and trap doors used by runaway slaves attempting to flee north to freedom.

Recent visitors agreed this is a worthwhile stop even if you aren't a history buff. They said the tour guides were informative and engaging and described the experience as a "moving history lesson," especially for children. Travelers warned that the neighborhood is a bit "run-down," but they also said that shouldn't deter you from visiting.  

Located a little more than a mile north of downtown Memphis, the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum's hours vary by season, but generally it is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is plentiful and admission costs $12 for adults and $11 for college students, seniors and kids ages 4 to 17. According to recent visitors, paying in cash is appreciated. 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.

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Brand USA/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau
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