42 S. Camilla Street
Memphis, TN 38104
Phone: (901) 526-1050
Fax: (901) 525-3219
Arts & Museums
Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Johnny Cash - they all recorded here at Sun Studio. Founded by Sam Phillips in 1950, this studio became the heart of the Memphis sound. In 1953, an 18 year old named Elvis Presley walked into the studio and paid to record two songs. The rest is history. Today, it is still a functioning studio, and modern musicians still record here to try to acquire a little of the magic. Take a tour and see exhibits relating to the artists who recorded here, including Carl Perkins, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and, of course, Elvis. Many visitors to Memphis cite this tour as the highlight of their stay.
Stroll down the shady streets and imagine that you are a wealthy nineteenth century Memphian. Seventeen marvelous Victorian homes in this charming neighborhood were restored and preserved in the 1970s. Some of the most significant buildings in this area are the Mallory-Neely House, the Lowenstein-Long House, and the Woodruff-Fontaine House. Victorian-themed events and concerts are held here throughout the year as well as a Christmas exhibit. There is metered parking on the street, an easy walk to the homes.
This 1870s house is part of Victorian Village, where Memphis homes dating from the 1800s have been preserved and restored. In addition to the furniture and decorative arts displayed inside, the house also has an exhibit of clothing from the Victorian era. Look at the cinched waists and layers of velvet and wonder how the Victorian ladies survived the hot Memphis summers. Tours are held every half hour.
Crosstown Arts is a creative destination, housing a gallery, exhibition center, performance venue as well as a retail space for artists. Promoting local and national artists, this venue hosts MemFeast as well as a funding event for artists to support themselves. Community outreach activities like arts program after school for children are also conducted in the Cleveland Street Flea Market. The gallery is open between Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6PM.
This building was the Memphis home of William Christopher Handy, who is often referred to as the "Father of the Blues." He wrote the song "Memphis Blues" in 1912 at the request of E.H. Crump, then running for mayor, and it became something of an anthem for the city. A major award for blues musicians, the W.C. Handy Award, is given every year at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis. The W.C. Handy Home features exhibits on Handy's career that trace the history of the blues in Memphis.
Highlights of the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum's permanent collection include several Elvis costumes, B.B. King's guitar (affectionately called "Lucille" by the legendary musician), and Dick Clark's American Bandstand podium. The museum also offers special temporary exhibits. The museum is available for private parties and events.
Beale Street is known for being safe. One of the reasons is this active police station/museum. The archives are fascinating. Newspaper clippings and photos relating to such famous criminals as Machine Gun Kelly and events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr are on display. Even the arrest records of "ordinary" criminals in the late 1800s and early 1900s tell a great deal about pre-integration Memphis. There is an extensive exhibit of weapons and other items confiscated from criminals. You can also see a real jail cell and have your picture taken inside it. There is no admission charge.
This gallery features the work of African-American artists both from the local region and from across the United States. You can view and purchase various forms of art, including photographs, prints and more, but the paintings are particularly good. Smaller gift items are also for sale. Gestine's is free to the public, and it stays open late (depending on the traffic) on Friday and Saturday nights to accommodate the crowds strolling down Beale Street.
The Fire Museum is located in the first firehouse in Memphis. Kids will love the video games and interactive videos that simulate firefighting, while parents will appreciate the exhibit of unusual firefighting equipment from the last two centuries. If you take the restored trolley from Union or Beale, you can disembark at the museum, then walk up the street to the National Civil Rights Museum, in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Peabody Place is part of an ambitious downtown renewal effort that includes complexes of restaurants, shops and apartments. Developer Jack Belz and his wife Marilyn have put their private collection of Chinese art on display for the public in a 7500 square-foot (232 square-meter) gallery. Some of the ivory and jade pieces date back to the Manchu Dynasty of the 17th Century. Stroll around Peabody Place and see what is attracting new residents to the downtown area.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located on the site of Stax Records which is known to have much significance in the music industry. The company is known to have launched the careers of many successful musicians. There are around 2000 exhibits that include videos, artifacts, films, photographs, and more. Apart from the exhibits, the museum regularly plays host to events like live concerts, educational programs, and fundraisers.
Located in downtown Memphis, The Cotton Museum explores an integral part of the South's history. It is located on what used to be the trading floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange. There are interactive exhibits to keep kids interested as well as archives for research purposes. The exhibits in the museum cover a broad range of topics, including the economic, social, and cultural impacts of the cotton industry.