From The Vault | National Civil Rights Museum - March 2018 - Page 1


Artifacts and Art Never Seen Before by the Public

From the Vault Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum’s Interpretation, Collections, and Education Department presents From the Vault, a blog to give visitors a peek into the museum’s collection of artifacts.  The Museum’s vault contains a myriad of objects, documents, paintings, and other items that the museum has acquired over the years. Some of the pieces in our collection have been purchased for the purposes of an exhibit, others are loans from another institution, and many are donations by everyday people.  Only a fraction of our total holdings are on display at any one time, and From the Vault will highlight rarely viewed items.

No matter how we acquire an artifact in collections, it is important to us as an institution to know the story behind it.  Who did it belong to?  What was it used for? Where was it made? How did it find its way to the National Civil Rights Museum? And perhaps most importantly, how will we be able to use this item to tell the story of the civil rights struggle?  The museum has sought to collect a wide-ranging group of artifacts to preserve the diverse history of the struggle for African-American Civil Rights.

Through this blog, we hope to give our supporters an inside look at the museum and its workings and to encourage patrons to think about donating their historical pieces to our ever-expanding collection.  Also, if you have items that you are considering for museum donation, please see our Artifacts Donations page or contact

Ben Branch

Musician Ben Branch was at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. He had returned to his hometown at the behest of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) and Dr. Martin Luther King to participate and play at an upcoming rally.  In an interview for the Library of Congress oral history project, Branch recollected his last conversation with the reverend.  King had asked Branch to play “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at a rally later that day, as... Read More
at Thursday, March 29, 2018
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