Sleep Inn at Court Square
40 N. Front St.
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 522-9700
Fax: (901) 522-9710
Arts & Museums
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.
A piece of World War II history is tucked neatly away under a pavilion on Mud Island. The famous bomber, dubbed the "Memphis Belle" in honor of the pilot's girlfriend, successfully completed 25 missions and was the subject of a Hollywood movie. It is a favorite attraction for former Army Air corpsmen, history buffs and airplane enthusiasts. The exhibit is included with admission to Mud Island, which includes the River Museum and River Walk, a scale replica of the Mississippi River you can dip your toes into.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Tops Gallery, in Downtown Memphis is located on Front Street. The wonderful gallery offers a great platform for budding and well-known artists from many genres of contemporary visual arts. Open for walk-ins on Saturdays, between 1p and 6p, Tops Gallery has a busy schedule with many exhibitions and other events lined up all year. The cultural space remains open for prior-fixed appointments all week and has showcased immensely talented artists like Victoria Sambunaris, Chris Dorland and Sarah Jones, to name a few.
Situated in the growing art center of Memphis, local artist Jay Etkin takes the Memphis experience one step further at his gallery. He does so by featuring a large selection of hard-to-find Southern contemporary art, something which Etkin says sets this gallery apart. Works in different media by a variety of established and up-and-coming artists can be found in the collection, along with ones by the proprietor himself, who has a national following. Pieces range from ones that even a student could afford, to works meant more for the serious collector.
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.