Thursday, March 24, 2016

Memphis, Tennessee

We reached Memphis where our first stop was the Lorraine Motel where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The Lorraine Motel was transformed into a museum, the National Civil Rights Museum which documents the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the US:

Motel sign.

Wreath on the balcony in front of his room (#306).

The only area of the motel that was preserved as is was MLK's room (shown here) and his friends' room.

The killer shot a rifle from a window on the second floor of this building (a boarding house) across the street, which is also part of the museum complex.

Various pieces of evidence belonging to the killer, including his rifle.

Next we hopped to Pink Palace Museum, which is a really strange place. It is the former mansion of a Memphis businessman who developed self-check out at grocery stores (compared to having a clerk at a general store get your list and pick out all the items for you). He became so indebted he had to give his mansion to the city of Memphis. It is now used as a museum with exhibits covering archaeology, medicine, the Civil War, attractions from Memphis, etc. There is no coherent theme, it really is an amalgam of exhibits. And because it is a mansion, the shape and size of rooms is all weird for presenting exhibits. A very strange museum.

Pink Palace.
Inside one of the random rooms.

Example of exhibit: a model circus.

Example of exhibit: replica of the first self-service grocery store (with shopping carts, checkout stands, etc), which was the Piggly Wiggly, founded by the then-owner of the Pink Palace.

Example of exhibit: drugstore from the early 20th century.

We stopped by the Peabody Hotel which is a fancy hotel in downtown Memphis, but is also famous for ducks that are trained to come swim in its indoor fountain in the lobby. A "duckmaster" takes them to the fountain everyday in the morning and takes them out at precisely 5pm. There were hundreds of visitors around us to watch the ducks at 5pm!

Duckmaster (man in red) walking the ducks out of the fountain.
At the duck fountain.

Lauren in the Peabody Hotel.

Beale Street in Memphis.

Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley's home—Graceland—which we visited. The tour is high-tech: visitors are given headphones and iPads, and an interactive presentation was played on the iPads as we walked across the property:


Audio tour.

Graceland living room.

Graceland TV room.

Many awards given to Presley.

Original concert clothes worn by Presley.

Presley's grave.

Memphis is the location of one of Gibson's guitar factories. We saw how they process the wood, cut it, shape it, add the strings, paint and polish the guitars. I was surprised how everything was done by hand. They seem to have about 50-100 workers, and we were told this factory outputs about 60 guitars per day. Unfortunately pictures were not allowed inside.

Outside the factory.

Admiring the nice, but expensive guitars.

Finally we took a short walk down the banks of the Mississippi:

Next stop: the Mississippi!

1 comment:

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