The National Civil Rights Museum breaks ground for Legacy renovation

Museum launches capital campaign for major Legacy Building and Founders Park renovation

Memphis, TN, May 11, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel will host a ground-breaking ceremony on May 16 at 10 am for its Legacy Building and Founders Park renovations. The public event will include a preview of the renovated campus through exhibit renderings, with remarks from key stakeholders from the project’s interpretative, architecture, and design teams.  

“The renovation of the Legacy Building and Founders Park is a transformative milestone for the National Civil Rights Museum as we continue to educate, inspire, and influence the nation and the world,” said Museum President Dr. Russ Wigginton. “We are extremely grateful to our early supporters who recognize the power of this place and have demonstrated a commitment to our vision.”

The celebration will cover the significance of these enhancements for the Museum’s mission to honor the legacy of Dr. King, educate, and serve as a catalyst for positive social change.  Representatives from the State of Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Boeing – early funders to the renovation – will be present and also provide remarks.

“The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation is proud to partner with the National Civil Rights Museum on this reimagined space,” said Kevin Woods, BlueCross Memphis market president. “With our investment, the BlueCross Healthy Place at Founders Park will provide a new type of shared experience for museum visitors, strengthen the sense of community in the space, and allow the museum to expand and enhance its programming for years to come.”

The Renovation
The two-year project impacts the museum campus west of Mulberry Street, including expanding the first floor of the historic boarding house that will include flexible digital exhibitions and exhibits on the Poor People’s Campaign and Freedom Award. The second-floor exhibitions will explore the Civil Rights Movement since the assassination and how protests have shaped our culture in answering the question, “Where do we go from here?” The third-floor exhibitions will examine how today's activism impacts our communities and policies around poverty, education, jobs, housing, criminal justice, and gender equality.

The Museum’s Founders Park will be renamed the BlueCross Healthy Place at Founders Park and will include gathering and event spaces and contemplative respite areas.  This major renovation of Founders Park has been made possible thanks to a multi-million dollar investment by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation.

Operations during Renovations
May 1, 2023, was the last day for visitors to see the existing Legacy Building exhibitions, which feature the King assassination timeline, investigation artifacts, and conspiracy theories around the plot to kill King. Fencing and hard-hat construction will begin in June.

The permanent exhibitions and changing exhibitions in the Lorraine Building will continue providing a rich history of the Civil Rights Movement up to the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and its impact on today’s social issues. Hours of operation and admission will remain unchanged, and an outdoor ticketing kiosk will be added during peak seasons.

The Museum expects to complete the renovation and reopen the Legacy Building in mid-2025. Visit the museum's website for more information and updates about the renovations.

About the National Civil Rights Museum
The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors worldwide have come, including more than 90,000 student visits annually. The Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement and tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights.  It educates and serves as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change.

A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries.  It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.


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