When many people think of music in Tennessee, they instantly think of Nashville. Well, Nashville isn’t the only iconic place in Tennessee that has produced great music over the years. Memphis was and still is prominent in the music industry.
In fact, many music legends like Elvis Presley and Issac Hayes started their careers in the city. So whether you are a Presley fan or music lover here are the top three Memphis Music Museums to explore for kids with autism on your next family visit.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a historic music museum that features the history of 1960’s soul music. Called initially Satellite Records in Brunswick Tennessee, owned by Jim Stewart, the first record produced and released was in 1957.
The song was “Blue Roses” and had a country beat to it. At first, the quality of the music released was inferior due to the recording equipment that Jim Stewart had. After talking with his sister, Estelle Axton who helped in acquire better gear.
The original building that held the Stax Museum of American Soul Music was torn down in 1989. Rebuilt in 2003, now the music museum contains over 2,000 pieces of original memorabilia.
Some of the memorabilia include a recreation of the 1906 Mississippi Delta Church, a dance floor to dance on while you watch Soul Train on a huge television. Stax Museum features iconic music legends such as Issac Hayes, Carla Thomas, and Booker T. & the MGs to name a few.
Admission is adults $13.00, children $10.00, seniors and active military are $12.00. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music located at 926 East McLemore Avenue Memphis Tennessee.
Keep in mind while visiting, that the Stax Museum of American Soul Music does not allow photography inside the building. If visitors would like a souvenir, they are welcome to shop in their gift shop.
Autism Travel Tip
The museum is wheelchair accessible. There is no mention of being able to rent or borrow wheelchairs, so please call ahead or bring your own if needed.
Also, along with the 2,000+ pieces of memorabilia, there is plenty of interactive exhibits. The interactive exhibits will help children learn and keep their attention.
Birthplace of Rock and Roll and Rockabilly, Sun Records Studio opened in 1950. The original owner Sam Phillips is responsible for creating musical icons like Elvis Presley (first record), and Johnny Cash.
Artists that have recorded here include, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis. There are also four men who did an unscheduled recording in 1956. The unplanned recording was later labeled the Million Dollar Quartet and consisted of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. Recent artists that have recorded here include U2, Tom Petty, and Def Leopard.
One of the significant aspects of Sun Studio is after closing hours they still record music for existing and up and coming artists.
Children (ages 5-11) are free, and adults are $14.00. Located at 706 Union Avenue in Downtown Memphis Tennessee. Visitors can take a 45-minute guided tour and learn all about Rock and roll through the ages. During the visit, visitors will see musical records, pictures, and instruments of the musicians that have played there.
Autism Travel Tip
While at Sun Studio, please keep in mind that only the first floor is wheelchair accessible. 12 steps go up to the second floor, and there is no lifts or elevators. Therefore, for those who rely on a wheelchair will not be able to see the second floor.
Though it has excellent memorabilia, the place is small and feels a bit crowded. Hence it isn’t really for kids with autism that feel uncomfortable with crowds. Also, Sun Studio does not allow children under the age of 5.
Rock “n” Soul Museum
The Rock “n” Soul Museum is a museum dedicated to the creation of Rock and Roll. Owned by the Smithsonian Institution, the Rock “n” Soul Museum was created by the National Museum of American History.
Opened in April of 2000, the Rock “n” Soul Museum has had over 200,000 visitors from all over the world. Here visitors can experience the birth of rock and roll and soul music.
The exhibits start around the 1930-time era and go all the way up to current times. There are seven different galleries for visitors to explore while they listen to an MP3 player that has over 300 minutes of information. Also, there are 100 songs on the MP3 player.
Also, many schools come to the Rock “n” Soul Museum for their educational programs that they offer students. This program teaches the social, economic and racial changes throughout history.
Autism Travel Tip
The Rock “n” Soul Museum is well lit and laid out making it a fun experience for all ages. It has PDF files on their website for children ages eight and up. These are significant resources for parents to have on hand before and during their museum tour.
As you can see Memphis is vital to many of our legendary musical leaps and strides in American Culture, from country, rock and roll, soul, and R&B. Have you been to any of these iconic Memphis Music Museums? Which Memphis Music Museums would you love to visit in the future?