Educator Resources | National Civil Rights Museum

Educator Resources

The National Civil Rights Museum is committed to providing educators with resources and materials for teaching the struggle for freedom and justice to students. These resources are tools for educators with tips for engaging with the museum on their visit as well as for bringing museum content into the classroom. Each educator resource will focus on an enduring idea and essential questions to broaden the scope of civil rights history. The resources will provide tools to engage students by prompting them to reflect on big questions about the human experience and how history relates to contemporary events and everyday life. Careful attention is given to ensure the contents meet state standards of Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Common Core. Additionally, the resources are meant to encourage character development by exploring and critiquing historical examples of strong characters and relating them to the students' lives.


The museum conducts Teacher Workshops to advance the knowledge and equip educators with tools for teaching sensitive themes around the Civil Rights Movement. Most workshops qualify for professional development, particularly for local Shelby County Schools educators. See our Teacher Workshop page by clicking the button below for upcoming workshops, virtually or in-person with museum exhibit tours.  To get more details about workshop opportunities or to join our educator's email list, contact Museum Educator Dory Lerner at


Learning Links

We created and compiled lesson plans and activities that can be used by children, parents or families together. Our Learning Links include exhibit-related resources for use by teachers grades 4-12 (modifications for grade level appropriateness encouraged):

COURAGE: This resource explores the definition of courage, and acts of courage as they appear throughout the exhibits. Comparisons of historical courageous efforts to examples from today are provided.


e-Learning Activities



As a resource for both students and educators, the eLearning Sit-In activity is modeled after the museum's Standing Up By Sitting Down exhibit. Students will virtually walk through the protest experience through a series of questions. The lunch counter sit-ins are an example of the non-violent direct action strategy used by college students that spread across the U.S. in 1960. 

Teacher's Guide for Standing Up by Sitting Down eLearning.

The Standing Up by Sitting Down eLearning activity is sponsored by verizon_400x400



This educational resource allows students to view the 1955-57 Montgomery Bus Boycott from the perspective of a newspaper investigative reporter. Students are guided through a series of bus stops where they are given scenarios of the unfair treatment and conditions under which blacks during a bus ride in Montgomery, AL.

Teacher's Guide for Before the Boycott eLearning

Civil Rights Movement Teacher Seminar

Civil rights movement Teacher Seminar

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the National Civil Rights Museum are pleased to partner on a Teacher Seminar on The Civil Rights Movement.

This seminar examines the historical origins of Black Power and its impact on the United States. Using Memphis, Tennessee, as a focal point, the seminar will explore the political, cultural, and economic elements of Black Power, and the impact of this ideology from the 1960s to the contemporary moment. This seminar is sponsored by Rhodes College and the National Civil Rights Museum.

Seminar participants will visit the National Civil Rights Museum, and will also tour The Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Historic Beale Street. Participants will get an opportunity to gather information on digital resources and archival material that may be used in the creation of lesson plans and syllabi.

These highly competitive one-week seminars are open exclusively to participants in the Institute’s free Affiliate School Program. Check here to see if your school is in the Affiliate School Program. If it is not, register here to ensure that you will be eligible to apply for the Teacher Seminars.

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