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

National Civil Rights Museum to reopen March 1

The museum was closed late last year during a surge in coronavirus cases.
Credit: National Civil Rights Museum

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The National Civil Rights Museum is scheduled to reopen next month after it was closed late last year during a surge in coronavirus cases in Memphis, Tennessee. 

The museum said it is scheduled to reopen March 1. Restrictions imposed by local health officials after a rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths led to the museum's closure in December. 

Based in Memphis, the museum chronicles the U.S. civil rights movement. 

It is located at the site of the former Lorraine Motel, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot on April 4, 1968. 

This history is more important than ever. We remain seriously committed to the safety of our guests and staff and to sharing the stories that changed our nation. We invite you to be a change maker. Schedule your visit the National Civil Rights Museum.

(NEWS RELEASE) - The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel announced it will welcome back visitors starting March 1 after area health officials restrictions in December caused the museum to closed to protect guests and staff. The museum is still requiring guests to wear masks and purchase timed tickets online prior to visiting the Museum to maintain social distancing and capacity guidelines provided by health officials. 

Safety Measures

Staff and guests are required to wear face masks while on the Museum campus, especially inside the Museum. Masks are provided for guests who arrive without them. Staff will undergo daily temperature checks. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers and regular disinfection are part of the Museum’s plan to protect everyone’s health. Throughout the Museum, signage and floor markings will help visitors maintain social distancing six feet apart. Water fountains will be disabled. There will be frequent sanitization of high touch areas daily.

Museum Hours and Admission

Initially, Museum hours are adjusted to Monday 9:00am to 5:00pm with Free Period for Tennesse residents from 3:00pm-5:00pm, and Thursday through Sunday 9:00am-5:00pm. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Admission pricing remains the same, and tickets can currently be purchased at civilrightsmuseum.org for March 1 and after.  Timed ticketing is scheduled every 15 minutes to regulate capacity and social distancing. Use of credit or debit cards instead of cash is encouraged in the Museum Store.

Experience Modifications

At least for the first few weeks of reopening, guided tours are limited. Interpretive talks will be staged outdoors in the museum courtyard, weather permitting.  Staff also will be strategically placed within exhibits for gallery tours and to assist visitors.

“Reopening March 1, when it’s safer – and only because it’s safer – is our promise. Our commitment to providing a safe experience for our staff and guests remains our ultimate goal,” said Faith Morris, the museum’s Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer. “To be closed during Black History Month was a tough one for us. During February many turn their thoughts and interests to celebrating and learning more about Black achievement and contributions.  The best thing is our guests haven’t missed this opportunity in visiting the museum after Black History Month because our storytelling of Black History transcends February,” Morris said.

The museum will continue monitoring updates by health officials to ensure the safety of its employees and guests.  Museum in-person events and programs are cancelled or hosted virtually until further notice. For more information, visit civilrightsmuseum.org