Preserving Civil Rights History

The museum, at the site of the historic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, has been undergoing renovation since November 2012. As a part of renovations, our exhibits have been redesigned to provide an even richer experience for visitors. Many visitor-favorite features such as the iconic Montgomery bus replica, March on Washington signs, and sit-in mannequins are still on display and more beautiful than ever. While honoring the traditions of this institution and chronicling key episodes of the civil rights movement, the new exhibits introduce an acute awareness of determined, courageous individuals and their efforts to form a more perfect union.

Andrew Goodman is one such individual. His application to join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is on display in our new exhibit highlighting the organizational efforts of 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer leaders. The personal document brings visitors closer to understanding the valiancy of young people such as Andrew. His commitment to the movement serves to inspire us all.

The Mississippi Summer Project exhibition space is designed to be an immersive experience. The designers and fabricators created a floor-to-ceiling environment of a bustling Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) office used for organizing components of Mississippi Freedom Summer. Sprawled across desks are photos, documents such as Goodman’s application, and information on Freedom Schools and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Even a phone and typewriter are placed on the desks to set the stage. A projector screen hosts a film of narrated and captioned historic and archival footage of the Freedom Summer campaign.

Each of the new exhibitions is treated with the same attention to detail and variety of visitor engagement as the Mississippi Summer Project space. New films, personal artifacts, interactive components, highlighted heroes, and substantial scholarship enrich the museum experience and provide a scope of opportunities to connect with history on a personal level.

Please join us on April 5, 2014 for the Grand Re-Opening of the National Civil Rights Museum!

About the author: Jody Stokes-Casey is the Education Coordinator at the National Civil Rights Museum. She is proud to work with the education staff in developing dynamic programming focused on the exhibitions, collections, and contemporary civil rights issues.