King Day | National Civil Rights Museum


A celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday

Monday, January 17 • 8:00am – 6:00pm • Museum Campus

Free Admission • limited capacity

The National Civil Rights Museum has pivoted to present King Day: An All-Day Hybrid Celebration on January 17, 2022, with free admission to the museum from 8:00am to 6:00pm, thanks to FedEx.  The museum is at limited capacity to uphold health and safety protocols. Guests must reserve museum passes online.

Due to the surge in COVID cases, the museum is foregoing its courtyard entertainment, resource stations, and children’s activities where people would gather in close proximity. Guests are required to wear masks. Sanitation stations will be posted throughout the experience.

This year the museum continues the tradition of an MLK Day of service by encouraging guests to bring nonperishable food items to support the Mid-South Food Bank and to be prepared to give blood to support the Vitalant blood drive. Both organizations experienced critical shortages during the pandemic.

With a "Double-V" approach to overcoming voter apathy and vaccine hesitancy, the museum will collaborate with organizations to offer voter education, empowerment, and registration information as well as COVID vaccines information.


  • Visitors can tour the museum from 8:00am–6:00pm. To secure admission, making online reservations is highly recommended for King Day.
  • There is music, announcements, and recorded speeches by Dr. King from the Main Stage outdoors.
  • The emphasis is on “Double V,” vaccines and voting, to address vaccine hesitancy and voter apathy, two issues that are particularly adverse for communities of color in the U.S. and globally.
  • Through the Communities for Immunity project, the museum shares online resources and a survey to gauge response to the urgency of COVID and getting vaccinated.
  • For its food drive benefitting the Mid-South Food Bank, the museum requests that guests bring canned good donations to help feed the growing number of hungry families in the Mid-South.
  • The museum continues its annual blood drive with Vitalant to help with the critical shortage. Anyone donating blood receives a free admission pass for up to four people any day in 2022.



VIRTUAL celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday

Monday, January 17 • Begins at 8:00am Central

The virtual celebration features musical performances by Memphis musicians Garry Goin, TykeT, Karen Brown, and many more.  Museum educator and historian Ryan Jones is “DJ Thriller” and spins the turntables in a special salute to Dr. King’s life and legacy. Spoken word artist Carin Malone, a.k.a Writeous Soul, delivers a tribute to the civil rights leader.  The virtual event is free.

VIRTUAL  •  BEGINS AT 10:00AM Central

For young virtual viewers, museum educator Dory Lerner presents King Day for the Small But Mighty. Dory shares ideas for children and families to remember Dr. King, his character, and the virtues he taught around love, peace, and justice. To access the virtual program link, viewers should register.


Annual Mid-South Food Bank Drive

Bring Canned Good/Non-Perishable Food Donations

FoodBank_logoObserved as a day of service, the King Holiday at the Museum is a chance for visitors to give back to the community and receive discounted admission by making food donations to benefit Mid-South Food Bank. 

Non-perishable items include canned meats (tuna, stews, chili, Spam, soups), canned fruit and veggies, canned juices, and peanut butter. NO glass containers.

The Food Drive is just one way everyone can serve the community and take in important history while honoring Dr. King's legacy. One of Dr. King's last initiatives was the Poor People's Campaign, so giving to help those in need furthers this cause. Feed the need!

About Mid-South Food Bank

King Day Vitalant blood Drive

With blood donation, receive free admission for up to 4 people.

LifebloodLogo2014Give the gift of life during the King Holiday. Vitalant (formerly Lifeblood) mobiles will be onsite on the January 17 from 8:00am to 4:00pm to receive blood donations. Donors receive free admission with express line access on King Day for up to four people PLUS four guest passes for up to four people to visit the museum again any day in 2022. Donors must be present January 17 to receive additional passes. Also, donors who give blood the week of January 10-16 at Vitalant Centers receive an admission voucher.

About Vitalant

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?"

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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