Few things have shaped America's history more than the railroads, so it's appropriate that a museum now resides at the historic crossroads where the Memphis & Charleston and the Mobile & Ohio railroads meet. Back in the 1860s, those railroads gave Corinth a strategic significance that made it a transportation hub during the Civil War. Today, they serve as the framing device for The Crossroads Museum, which is home to countless artifacts that help illustrate Northern Mississippi's colorful history.
The museum’s collection is nothing if not eclectic. Here, you'll find everything from Native American fossils to baseball memorabilia that honors famed ballplayer Don Blasingame, who was born and raised in Corinth. The museum also houses the legendary Dilworth’s Hot Tamales Cart.
Cedar Hill Farm Paintball Park arms its guests with a gun, an air tank, a face mask, a 200-round hopper, and 500 rounds of splattering ammunition to defend humanity against the sinister forces of boredom. Sporting seven separate courses over 14 acres of park, Cedar Hill can accommodate large-scale battles and special-forces strikes in the Woods, Ambush, or Bunker Hill courses, and anyone looking for high-frequency action can test their trigger fingers on one of the farm’s speedball courses. Because war has no rules, except for a few necessary ones for safety, battle pacing and game types are left up to the players themselves, though Cedar Hill estimates that players can clean out their clips in two or three hours and are happy to suggest favorite scenarios for squads who’ve come up short.
While meandering past more than 250 exhibitors, guests of the Kentuck Festival of the Arts can peruse artful wares during the weekend-long exploration of visual arts, music, and food. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the festival welcomes visitors to amble under a canopy of trees and feast eyes on artisans' endeavors in blacksmithing, split-oak basketry, pottery, colorful found-object sculpture, and accounting. Live music flutters about the festival from eight bands across two stages, delighting ears with surging gospel choirs and twangy country singers. Taste buds, too, bask in artistic attention, salivating over Cajun fare or saucy ribs, or mistaking a still-life gyro for its edible muse.
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 perfect frame can make a work of art leap off of a wall. For the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, the overall layout frames a 2,000-piece museum with 17 acres of lush English gardens. Tulip-lined walkways, scenic vistas, and the occasional sculpture surround visitors on tours of the Tennessee woodlands, where oaks and hickories climb towards the sky where all the good sunlight is. In total, more than 120 identified species of trees live and breathe within the gardens' level IV arboretum.
Even more sights await visitors behind the museum’s corinthian columns and brick façade. Eight to ten rotating exhibitions a year hang alongside a permanent collection that touches on paper works, sculptures, and paintings by French and American impressionists—from Claude Monet to Mary Cassatt. Beyond these ever-present attractions, the museum also hosts live performances, educational programs, and other special events.
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.