Built around the infamous Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968, the National Civil Rights Museum tells KingÃ¢€™s story as well as examines the entire American civil rights movement. Before entering the museum, you can view the second-story balcony where King was standing when he was killed.
The displays inside begin with the practice of slavery in the U.S as well as its abolishment after the Civil War. The story continues through the main events of the 60Ã¢€™s civil rights movement, many including King; there’s even a recreation of his Montgomery jail cell. The most famous exhibit is an authentic 1955-era city bus that you can walk inside to see a statue of Rosa Parks. (If you sit down, you’ll hear the bus driver telling you to move to the back of the bus.) The museum also takes a look at numerous global human rights efforts and inspires visitors to participate at whatever level they can. At the end of the tour, you’ll see the actual motel room where King was staying when he was shot, furnished and decorated as closely as possible to the way it appeared the day he died.
Visitors can then go through a tunnel to end up across the street, where the exhibits continue in the building that was once the boarding house James Earl Ray stayed in. You can see RayÃ¢€™s bathroom, including the bathtub where Ray stood when he fired the fateful shot that ended King’s life, and read about the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination.