Saturday, October 25, 2014

Memphis, Tennessee: Rock 'n' Soul Museum

Some serious downtown development has taken place in Memphis in the past several years. One obvious spot is the FedEx Forum, a major venue for NBA basketball and other events.

Right next door is a relatively new "Rock 'n' Soul Museum," which tells the story of Memphis and its music. It works quite nicely, all things considered.

The museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian, and has all sorts of displays in the area. You can learn about Memphis Minnie and Mavis Staples, and everyone in between. And there are plenty in between.

Each guest receives a wand that plays sounds. Plug in the correct number when standing by a display, and you can hear the story behind it. A nice touch is the chance to hear full songs that way as well. It adds a lot to the visit.

The latest tunes were often heard at Poplar Tunes, named after its street. The store eventually closed, but the sign remains here.

By the way, Gibson Guitar has a factory right across the street. Tours of the facility are open to the public; reservations aren't a bad idea. No pictures are allowed, so you'll have to remember what it was like in your head. It's definitely worth a visit too.

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