Experiencing history: The new National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel through one photographer’s lens

By Jessica Greenstein

While on assignment in April covering the NCAA Women’s Final Four tournament in Nashville,Tennessee, I took advantage of a free day and drove the three and a half hours to Memphis to photograph the newly reopened National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. My visit on April was just two days after the museum reopened after an 18 month renovation to both the motel and the boarding house where James Earl Ray was staying when he assassinated Martin Luther King Jr.

The Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. stayed during the last days of his life is home to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.


The renovation cost estimated 27.5 million dollars and features interactive exhibits aimed at transporting visitors back to the height of the civil rights era through sights and sounds. Visitors can use touch screens in many of the exhibits to learn more about the details of events that occurred during the time

The museum is a piece of history that should be experienced, but with the start of the semester, it’s understandable that may not be feasible. Students can create their own museum experience locally by visiting the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central branch, located at 400 Cathedral Street Baltimore, MD 21201. The library’s newest exhibit, Making A Difference: African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement, runs until October 5, 2024 and features photographs and stories of African American women that played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement during the 1950’s and ’60s.


Stay tuned for more photos from the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

Central Library

400 Cathedral Street

Baltimore, MD 21201

Mon: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tue: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Wed: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Thu: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Fri: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sun: closed

410-396-5430 (phone)

410-396-1441 (fax)

All images courtesy of Jessica Greenstein

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