The Pink Palace is one of the more eclectic museums you will ever visit. The stately mansion was built in the 1920s out of nubby-looking pink Georgian marble blocks by Clarence Saunders, the man who invented the concept of the supermarket. Although Saunders meant for the building to be his home, he never actually lived here. Not surprisingly, the most notable exhibit is an exact walk-through replica of SaundersÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚™ self-service grocery store, the Piggly Wiggly.
The museum highlights the cultural and natural history of Memphis and the mid-south, and includes dinosaur skeletons, displays on human ancestors, a mineral and gem collection, a large and intricate miniature animated circus, an earthquake exhibit, and even the shrunken head of an Ecuadorian Indian. Of the many exhibits that cover local history, one showcases MemphisÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚™s musical heritage (and includes Elvis’s Army uniform), another discusses the changing roles of women, and a third introduces visitors to historic black Memphians (including Julia Britton Hooks, one of the first black women in the U.S. to attend college and Robert R. Church, Sr., the first black millionaire). One of the newest exhibits is the architectÃƒ¢Ã‚€Ã‚™s sample of the black obsidian granite wall that makes up the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.; the wall was created in Memphis by Binswanger, Inc. In addition to the museum, the Pink Palace includes an IMAX theater and a planetarium.