Day 1 You'll See:
- Beale Street
- Memphis Rock n Soul Museum
- National Civil Rights Museum
Day 2 You'll See:
- Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
- Fire Museum of Memphis
- Metal Museum
Day 3 You'll See:
- Pink Palace Family of Museums
- Graceland Tour
Your young charges deserve a break from the classroom, and you’re planning to escort them on the trip of a lifetime to - and - through the cultural hotspot of the south! On this 3-day Memphis Holiday, you’ll hoof it through the riverfront home of the blues and visit a diverse selection of excellent museums that lead you and your students step by fascinating step through an intriguing exploration of the rich, gritty and glorious history of the Blues City!
Official home of the rockin’ blues, important center of riverfront trade to the West and burgeoning affluent suburbia to the East, Beale Street has survived a hurricane of of feast, famine, renovation and renewal, growth and change to arrive where it is today: the most visited attraction in all of Tennessee, acclaimed entertainment venue, local hangout and bubbling cultural hotspot. Today, Beale’s gritty and wild atmosphere is tempered, considerably, by a strong, tourism-driven economy, and the area is a virtual 2-mile beacon of incredible cafes, BBQ joints and restaurants, live music, street performers, an array of novelty and specialty shops, music stores, houses of worship, theaters, museums and historic points of interest with a distinctly Southern-fried crunch steeped in a richly authentic, smooth and moving Blues culture and vibe. Anything goes on Beale Street; come as you are – see the sights and sounds of this quintessentially Memphis neighborhood: follow the walk of brass notes, stop in at A. Schwab’s dry goods, check out the cool sounds of Memphis Jams on Beale at Handy Park, come to town for the International Blues Challenge, pop by the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum or just hang out with your group and revel in that “catfish on the table, gospel in the air” feel of this most iconic street in America!
Memphis Rock n Soul Museum
Step inside, and get lost for a while in the gutsy and moving story of the brave musical pioneers who overcame daunting racial and socio-economic barriers to create a special brand of music that would shake the entire world to its core. The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, developed in unique cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution, offers guests a personal Blues City experience they won’t soon forget, with an engaging audio tour serving up more than five hours of music in conjunction with a fascinating stream of information, allowing them to drift at their own pace through seven unique galleries chock full of musical treasures. Your group will truly enjoy the Museum’s presentation of this cross-section of the rich history of that unmistakable sound - and the living, breathing heart and soul behind it - that ultimately shaped a delta city and forever changed the face of music.
National Civil Rights Museum
Next up on this fascinating three-day Memphis adventure: a stop at the National Civil Rights Museum, established in 1991 at the former Lorraine Motel, where beloved civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. A recent $27.5 million renovation to this premier institution supplemented an already robust assemblage with dozens of new films, oral histories and interactive media features and freshened the Museum with an updated, modern design reminding visitors of its charge to keep civil rights issues moving forward, while a 7,000-pound bronze signature statue, “Movement to Overcome”, featured in front of the grand staircase in the new lobby stands as a monument to the struggles of previous generations, “lest we forget”. A tour of the National Civil Rights Museum leads guests on an enlightening and immersive journey through five centuries of history, from the dawn of the resistance and through the Civil War and reconstruction to significant events of the late twentieth century that inspired people around the world to rise, step away from an oppressive heritage of stolen futures and mournful predisposition, shake off the heavy chains of segregation and stand for equality.
Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum
At one time, Cotton was King in Memphis; for hundreds of years, African people were shipped across the seas to America and sold into the booming slave trade that ensured the Delta’s cash crops were planted, tended and harvested, and the city of Memphis rapidly became Tennessee’s leader in the trade business. Eventually, the anti-slave movement saw the uprising of noble citizens who enlisted themselves in the abolition wars to assist runaways seeking their freedom in the Northern states. Jacob Burkle, a German immigrant and stockyard owner, was one of them, a man who risked his life and livelihood to help slaves on their way by operating an “underground railroad station” from his modest home near the banks of the Mississippi. Visitors to the Burkle Estate, just a few minutes from iconic Beale Street, are treated to a well-presented tour of the white clapboard house and grounds, wonderfully preserved and recreated in the manner of its day of service with historical documents, period furniture, quilts and other relevant artwork and well-attended by knowledgeable guides who supply - in animated detail - heartrending stories of the dark days of slavery during Jacob Burkle’s time, and the way in which many were aided, en route to possible freedom, with safe-haven provided in his home.
Fire Museum of Memphis
You and your students won’t want to miss a stop at the Fire Museum of Memphis - the Mid-South's hottest interactive attraction and institute for learning and teaching fire and life safety. Guests are transported back in time as they enter a turn-of-the-century firehouse, where they’ll examine the horse-drawn era of firefighting from a horse's perspective; the museum’s comprehensive collections of authentic equipment, memorabilia, art, and memorial works detail the history and evolution of Memphis firefighting through the years. A 22-foot tall interactive memorial brick sculpture featuring the names of lost Memphis firefighters offers guests an opportunity to meet each hero through a short, detailed introduction.
As the only museum anywhere exclusively dedicated to the advancement of fine metalwork, the Metal Museum has become the center for metal arts, actively promoting artists and their work and playing a vital role in the recognition and collection of metalwork and the instruction of innovative practices. Its fantastic and ever-growing outdoor sculpture garden showcases work by internationally recognized metalsmiths, and its permanent collections present a broad spectrum of metalwork including Renaissance-era door knockers, hand-forged wrought iron farm implements, contemporary hollowware, and sculptures fashioned by artist blacksmiths. The Museum’s wonderful 10th Anniversary Gates endlessly engage visitors who stop to examine their whimsical assemblage of tiny rosettes, typically the size of a doorknob, affixed to the wrought ironwork, each creation a simple yet eloquent statement about the individual metal artists/contributors.
Pink Palace Family of Museums
Day three of your Memphis adventure dawns and you and your students are heading off to explore the Pink Palace Family of Museums, a collection of fantastic historic, educational and technological attractions maintained by the City of Memphis, Tennessee and Memphis Museums, Inc. The Museum Family, including the Pink Palace Museum, the CTI 3D Giant Theater, the Sharpe Planetarium, The Lichterman Nature Center and the historic Mallory-Neely and Magevney Houses, operates some of the finest attractions and educational exhibits in the country! At the Pink Palace Museum, you’ll explore the cultural and natural history of the Mid-South through an exciting array of exhibits, dioramas, and audio-visuals designed to appeal to visitors of all ages. Deep in the heart of Metropolitan Memphis sprawls Lichterman Nature Center – a delightful urban refuge featuring sensational exhibits and a tradition of excellence in environmental education staged in the midst of 65 pristine and picturesque acres of gardens, meadow, lake, and forest. Wander the Backyard Wildlife Center and trek three miles of accessible trails wending their way through representative Midsouth habitats. 70 million years ago, clams, snails, crabs, sharks, and giant mosasaurs flourished in the South; within the grounds of Coon Creek Science Center in rural McNairy County lies one of the most important fossil sites in North America, a mother lode of perfectly preserved marine shells and vertebrate remains left behind when the Gulf of Mexico receded from “the shores” of Western Tennessee!
More than 600,000 adoring fans annually make the big-daddy of all celebrity pilgrimages to 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard, passing through those hallowed, music-booked-shaped gates onto the perfectly preserved and maintained 13.8 acre estate at Graceland, the favorite tourist attraction in all of Memphis and place the legendary humanitarian, movie star and King of Rock and Roll loved and called home for more than 20 years; a stop by Graceland is an absolute must on any Blues City getaway! You and your students will enjoy an audio-guided tour of the mansion featuring commentary and stories by Elvis and his daughter Lisa Marie. You’ll see where Elvis relaxed, played, ate, slept and spent time with his cherished friends and family on a very personal look inside the home of the King of Rock 'n' Roll, with peeks into each lovingly, elaborately decorated room, furnished in Elvis’ signature flamboyant style. You’ll see the collection of vehicles Elvis owned at the time of his passing, including the Pink Cadillac he bought for his precious Mama, his purple Caddy Convertible, his Stutz Blackhawk and the Red MG he drove in “Blue Hawaii.” Last stop on your Graceland Tour is the Meditation Garden, Elvis’ favorite place on the Estate, where he would go in troubled times to seek peaceful refuge, and where he and several family members have been laid to rest.