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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

901 Student Passport to provide free field trips for Shelby County families

School-age children and their parents will get to visit eight museums and galleries during virtual learning.
Credit: Shelby County Government

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris along with leaders of local museums and galleries announced Tuesday the 901 Student Passport program.

The 901 Student Passport program is deigned to provide school-age children and their parents an opportunity to visit eight museums and galleries at no cost.

The program is now underway, and will be available through the end of the year. Students may download and print their passports here or pick up a free passport at their local public library.

Participating museums and galleries include the Fire Museum of Memphis, Pink Palace Museum, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Lichterman Nature Center, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, and Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. 

All school-age children in Shelby County can participate, regardless of the assigned school district. Each passport gets a student and parent a free visit to each location. 

Students who complete their passport by receiving a stamp from each location will earn a special reward from County Mayor Lee Harris.

“Arts, history, and culture are critical to the fabric of our community. We want to support museums and galleries, expose our virtual learners to cultural experiences, and ensure that more residents have an opportunity to enjoy the arts, even during a pandemic. Each of these locations is a cultural asset in our community. They have all taken additional steps to ensure the safe operation of their facilities, and they are all ready to welcome our youth and their parents," said Mayor Lee Harris.

“The Fire Museum of Memphis teaches visitors how to be prepared for and survive a structure fire, how to call 9-1-1 for help in an emergency, and the history of the Memphis Fire Department. Each year we teach fire prevention, safety and education to thousands of school children. Our education program has helped Memphis reduce the number of deaths due to fire over the last 20 years, and we are proud to continue this tradition,” said Fire Museum of Memphis Executive Director Kimberly Crafton.

National Civil Rights Museum President Terri Freeman says “The American Civil Rights Movement crescendos in Downtown Memphis in front of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated .As we continue the fight for equity and equality, we encourage students to visit the sacred grounds of the Civil Rights Museum for a history lesson that informs and inspires. We’re honored to support your learning in this way and can’t wait to welcome you for a stamp on your passport.”

“At the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, we believe in the power of art to inspire, to build pathways to learning, and to forge connections as we celebrate creative expression and our shared humanity. The Dixon is committed to making meaningful experiences in the visual arts accessible to the whole of our community, and especially our students, via visits to the museum and gardens, outreach programs, and most recently through a variety of digital learning opportunities,” said Dixon Gallery and Gardens Director Kevin Sharp.

“Memphis and Shelby County are known around the world because of music. The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum at FedExForum, developed by the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of the musical icons of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds who created a musical sound that changed the planet. Through the 901 Student Passport program, these stories of local musicians past and present, as told at Rock ‘n’ Soul, can build civic pride, inspire our students to dream big, to explore their own creativity, and to also change the planet,” said Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum Executive Director John Doyle. 

Pink Palace and Lichterman Nature Center Executive Director Kevin Thompson says “The Museum of Science & History – Pink Palace has been built on a foundation of learning and enlightenment since 1926. Last year alone, the Museum served more than 128,000 students through field trips and educational programs at the Museum and Lichterman Nature Center. Our programs have enriched the lives of students and provided inspiration for them to achieve their dreams. We are excited and proud to be a partner in the 901 Student Passport program.”

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Executive Director Emily Neff says “Home to more than 10,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of global history and culture, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art truly provides a passport for all Memphians to see the world. Art not only educates, enriches and inspires, it sparks creativity and critical thinking. The Brooks is proud to partner with the Shelby County Mayor’s Office in engaging students from across our great community through the power of art.”

Elaine Turner, Director of Slave Haven says “The story of the intricate network of the Underground Railroad unfolds at Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, an antebellum home which once served as a safehouse for enslaved Africans escaping to freedom. During the 901Student Passport program, students will learn lessons of courage and determination of those who sought freedom at all cost and lessons of compassion and bravery of those who aided them on their journey. We welcome students to come and take an unforgettable walk through history that is sure to motivate and inspire them.

Each partner received a $30,000 CARES Act grant to support the economic hardships faced by museums and galleries in light of reduced tourism and other public health restrictions. All will welcome students and a parent to visit for free through the remainder of the year.