The interactive exhibits and programs compiled by the Pink Palace Family of Museums reinforce a mission that has stayed constant for 80 years: to "inspire people to learn how history, science, technology, and nature shape the Mid-South." Attached to Clarence Saunders' mansion built in the 1920s, the museum's permanent exhibits take an eclectic approach to chronicling the past, revealing everything from ancient fossils to contemporary southern history. Inside, visitors can chart the history of Memphis from the early Spanish explorers through the Civil War or walk through a replica of Saunders' original Piggly Wiggly—the country’s first self-service grocery store, and even see a shrunken head. Global adventures are chronicled on a four-story screen at the CTI-IMAX theater, and the Sharpe Planetarium explores the cosmos from the comfort of a 130-seat theater.
Traveling to east Memphis, one can discern the natural side of the Pink Palace Family of Museums. Lichterman Nature Center encompasses 65 acres of lush gardens filled with native wildflowers, trees, and wildlife. The center combines self-guided nature walks with plant sales and educational activities to expose visitors to the natural world.
The Stax Museum is one of the only soul-music museums in the world. It originally sprouted from an old movie theater into recording studios, offices, and engineering rooms and also birthed Stax Records, a soul-music label that influenced music internationally. Explore this artifact-packed temple of tunes to discover over 2,000 soulful objet d'art and exhibits. The museum celebrates the songs of archetypal artists like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, and soul much more. As you stroll through the cabinet of wonders, music playing throughout the museum encourages the practice of extemporaneous dance moves on the Soul Train dance floor. Walls of records, film screenings, memorabilia, and countless items of musical intrigue are scattered throughout. Bask in the ambience of Isaac Hayes's peacock-blue 1972 fur-lined super-fly Cadillac Eldorado with a television, refrigerator, gold trim, and electromagnetic women attractor.
Catering to the mid- to mid-mid-life needs of 21- to 40-year-olds, Bravo presents its members with complimentary admission to a dynamic schedule of arts-oriented events featuring an array of artistic media, from photography to live music. Enjoy private tours of unique cultural destinations such as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music (November 10), as well as cinematic and theatrical affairs such as a screening of Trouble Man, accompanied by a live performance of Marvin Gaye's soundtrack (December 10) and an operatic adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream (January 20). In addition to their artistic content, many Bravo events also include complimentary hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and other perks usually available only to Burton Gilliam and members of the Illuminati.
Perched atop a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the Metal Museum provides an opportunity for visitors to view expertly crafted metalwork every day without transforming their minivans into tree-hanging dragon feeders. As the only institution in the United States devoted exclusively to showcasing fine metalwork, the National Ornamental Metal Museum takes visitors back to a time when blacksmiths were revered as celebrities and held frontcourt season tickets to public stoning bouts. Visitors can peruse a variety of metalworking facilities, exhibits, and a gift shop while browsing delicate knives and jewelry alongside sturdy cast-iron sculptures and contemporary works. Each individual membership is good for one year and includes free admission to all exhibits. Additionally, members will receive 10% off any metal repair work performed by the museum’s capable smiths, a tuition discount for classes, special-event and newsletter mailings, and 10% off gift-store items. With three guest day passes, you’ll never get caught with no way to entertain the in-laws or pals visiting on a rainy day.
Founded by Jack Belz (chairman and CEO of Belz Enterprises) and Marilyn Belz, the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art has displayed its collection of paintings, sculptures, textiles, and more from Asian and Judaic artisans since 1998, when it was originally called the Peabody Place Museum. Old-school art lovers can spend hours perusing Belz's collection of pieces from the Chinese Qing and other dynasties, including a 19th-century scene intricately carved in ivory tusk, or studying elaborate pottery from the Han dynasty. In addition to the four admissions, the deal also includes four collection catalogs ($6 each), so exhibition scrutinizers can study up on the museum's collections.