Travel MLK50

FILE - In Jan. 19, 2009, file photo, a woman looks out of a window while visiting the National Civil Rights Museum located at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on the nationwide holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. The wreath marks the location where King was killed while standing on the balcony April 4, 1968. Travelers will find a variety of events and sites in Memphis and elsewhere honoring King's legacy on the 50th anniversary of his death.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

The National Civil Rights Museum in the South Main area of downtown Memphis is the center for all things related to King in the city. The museum, built at the site of the Lorraine Motel, opened in 1991, then underwent a $28 million renovation and reopened in 2014 with many new interactive exhibits.

From the street, visitors approaching the museum see a striking sight: a wreath on the balcony where King was shot. Inside, exhibits tell the story of the civil rights movement, including detailed scenes of the desegregation of a lunch counter and sanitation workers marching in Memphis. The workers were seeking higher pay and better working conditions after two of them were killed by a malfunctioning garbage truck.

Visitors end their museum tour back at the assassination site, looking into the preserved interior of room 306, where King was staying, and looking out, from inside the building, onto the balcony where he was shot.

The museum plans several anniversary events, including on April 4, a day of remembrance and the opening of an exhibit of more than 150 photographs looking back at the 50 years since King's death.


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