No trip to Memphis would be complete without learning about its music history, and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is just the place to do this. Originally a Smithsonian Institute research project, it became their first permanent exhibition outside of New York and Washington DC. Inside, you’ll find seven expansive galleries showcasing instruments, costumes, photographs, artifacts and exhibits like “Rural Music,” “Coming to Memphis,” “Sun Records & Youth Culture,” “Soul Music” and “Social Changes” that take you through a timeline and tell the story of Memphis and its music history.
The doesn’t just focus on the music itself or the artists, but the actual socio-economic and racial struggles as well as the successes of the people who overcame prejudice and put Memphis on the map as the “Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” By the time you leave the museum, you’ll have a better understanding of the civil rights movement, historic Beale Street and how the sounds of Memphis inspired its people.
One way to enhance your Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum experience is opting for the audio guide, which features 300 minutes of information including 100 songs. This combined with the exhibits will undoubtedly have you dancing during your visit and on your way out (and probably for the rest of the afternoon!).
Allow a minimum of two hours to explore the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, although you’ll probably want more.