The National Civil Rights Museum is located in the iconic Lorraine Motel, a historic landmark in Memphis, Tennessee. The museum features exhibits highlighting the American Civil Rights Movement, African-American History, and hosts cultural events for the community and members.

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The National Civil Rights Museum was established in 1991 and has since become one of the nation’s leading museum’s commemorating the American Civil Rights movement and African American culture and heritage.

The museum is located in the historic Lorraine Motel where celebrated civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was murdered in the spring of 1968. Since its opening in 1991, the museum has undergone massive renovations, including the $27.5 million expansion in 2013-14 that added 40 films, and additional interactive exhibits to the already expansive galleries.

The National Civil Rights Museum has been featured on the History Channel, CNN, and in many predominate news outlets, magazines, and newspapers around the world, including the documentary The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 which was nominated for an Academy Award. Additionally, the museum is included in the top 5% to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and strives to be a voice for human rights and social justice through the International Coalition of Sites of Conscious of which the museum was a founding member.

The NCRM is open every day but Tuesday from 9am- 5pm with extended hours during the summer months. Admission prices can be found online.


The National Civil Rights Museum has a collection of 260 artifacts and 40 films that provide an educational experience throughout 5 permanent exhibits and a series of temporary exhibits that rotate, taking visitors through the history of the civil rights movement and African American heritage in the United States from Slavery beginning in 1619 through the current Black Lives Matter Movement.

A Culture of Resistance: Slavery In America 1619-1861- This graphic exhibit explores the impact that slavery had not only in the United States but on global economy and world markets. Displays in this exhibit focus on the Atlantic slave trade, the goods that were cultivated by slaves and the wealth created by slaves for plantation owners.

Standing Up By Sitting Down: Student Sit-Ins 1960- The nonviolent sit in movement of the 1960’s that started in Nashville is presented in this exhibit with the original lunch counter featured with 3D figures of students and hecklers. Films are also shown in this exhibit that show the history of the protests and conflicts regarding segregation and student action.

The Year They Walked: Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1956- One of the original exhibits in the NCRM, visitors can listen to audio on an actual bus with a 3d representation of Rosa Parks and other who participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as well as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We Are Prepared To Die: Freedom Rides 1961- This exhibit outlines the history of a Supreme Court decision in 1960 to outlaw segregation in public transportation terminals and the Freedom Ride initiated by the Congress of Racial Equality in 1961 that sent hundreds of young students into the south, some of whom were imprisoned in Parchman Penitentiary in Mississippi.

What Do We Want? Black Power- The Black Power exhibits explains the often-misunderstood movement that is also one of the most influential parts of the Civil Rights Movements. This movement continues to be a part of the struggle for equality in the African American community in new forms such as Black Lives Matters. Other displays within this exhibit outline the rise of political influence within the African American community with the right to vote and first elected officials to congress.

Educational Opportunities

The National Civil Rights Museums champions education and awareness of cultural and civil rights issues through a wide range of programs offered at the museum and throughout the community. The museum offers book signing, film presentations, special events for community groups and organization throughout the year and many free admission programs for Title 1 schools in grades 4-12 through grants.

Book and Author Series- This monthly series features authors that have written about events impacting civil rights in America and the world, historical accounts, and conspiracy theories, biographies, and recollections.

Lunch and Learns-A lecture series featuring many media types, discussion panels, and demonstration to raise cultural awareness centered around culture and civil rights. Schedules are produced annually and programs are free to the public.

Educator Seminars- One week seminars are open to educators who participate in Affiliate School Programming and focus on the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power, and tours of historic landmarks that teachers can use in educating their students.

450 Mulberry Street, Memphis Tennessee, 38103, website, Phone: 901-521-9699

Back to: Memphis, Tennessee

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