April 4th is the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. To mark the date, the National Civil Rights Museum, which is housed at the Lorraine Motel Building in Memphis (the site of the assassination), will have a grand reopening following the completion of renovations that began in 2010. The museum is currently partially open and visitors can see exhibits on the history of the Civil Rights movement and the legacy of the assassination of Dr. King. Freedom’s Sisters—an interactive multimedia exhibit highlighting 20 nineteenth- and twentieth-century women who contributed to the freedom of all Americans—is currently running at the museum. Visitors may also tour the balcony where Dr. King last stood. Tours of the balcony will end February 2nd.
The newly refurbished Lorraine Motel will house replicas of a bus from the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, a lunch counter from the sit-ins of the 1960s, and a garbage truck from the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. The NEH has supported this project in multiple ways with a Challenge Grant (a matching grant) to build a long-term endowment for the museum and a grant to design the exhibition from the Division of Public Programs. In addition, the National Civil Rights Museum received a Preservation and Access grant for an assessment of the museum’s audio-visual collection and for training to preserve the collection.