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 to donate, please contact Schillica Howard, Collections Manager & Registrar at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Category: Lorraine Motel

With Sympathy - Letters to the Lorraine

With Sympathy: Letters to the Lorraine Motel By Dr. Noelle Trent Director of Interpretation, Collections and Education In 2020, we respond to news and events within seconds on Social Media; however, in 1968 the American public responded to news and events through letters and telegrams. Letters and telegrams are written communications which required deliberate and intentional action. For a telegram, a person would develop a message, head to a telegraph office like Western Union where... Read More
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James H. Laue

Photographs taken at the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968, have indelibly etched our museum’s landmark in America’s collective memory.  These famous images were taken in the midst of the chaos that ensued after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot on the balcony outside Room 306.  In the first photo, Shelby County Sherriff’s Deputy Bill DuFour is speaking with three of King’s most recognizable aides, Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young, and Jesse Jackson, as they... Read More
at Thursday, June 28, 2018
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Lorraine Motel

For this month’s blog, I want to share two photographs from our Lorraine Motel archive collection .  The National Civil Rights Museum provides an engaging narrative of the civil rights struggle, but few know the story behind our most important artifact, the motel building itself.  In 1945, a local African American businessman, Walter Bailey (no relation to museum founder D’Army Bailey), purchased the Marquette Hotel on 450 Mulberry Street.  Bailey renamed the... Read More
Posted by Connie Dyson at Thursday, February 8, 2018
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