Discover Memphis

Memphis Educational Tours

Memphis history is American History. From its influence on the evolution of American music to its significance in the struggle for civil rights and social justice, this city’s heritage is representative of America’s cultural identity.

Memphis Overview

Memphis, Tennessee is a city renowned for its influence on music and culture, making it an excellent destination for student travel groups interested in exploring the evolution of American music. One of the city’s most iconic attractions is Graceland, the former home of music legend Elvis Presley. Tours of Sun Studio, often referred to as the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll,” give students an up close and personal view of the space where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded some of their most iconic songs. At the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, students can learn about the impact of soul music through interactive exhibits and live performances. The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum’s exhibition about the birth of rock and soul music, created by the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create the music that shook the entire world. Finally, a visit to Beale Street is a must for students interested in music and cultural history. This iconic street has been the heart of Memphis’ music scene for over a century, with a rich history of blues, jazz, and rock and roll.

One of the most historically significant locations in Memphis – and the United States as a whole – is the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The motel has been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum, and offers visitors a comprehensive look at the Civil Rights Movement in the United States with exhibits on segregation, voting rights, and social justice. 

There are many other educational attractions in Memphis for students to enjoy. For those interested in the sciences, the Pink Palace Museum offers exhibits on natural history, earth sciences, and technology. The museum’s planetarium offers educational shows about astronomy and space exploration, while the CTI 3D Giant Theater screens educational films on a wide range of topics. The Memphis Zoo is home to 4,500 animals, and is one of only four zoos in the United States to house the endangered giant panda. The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange explores the profound impact of the cotton industry on the city of Memphis and its people. For a bit of free and quirky entertainment, bring students to the Peabody Hotel at 11am or 5pm to watch the Peabody Ducks parade through the lobby – on their very own red carpet!

Living Legacy Project

“The Living Legacy Project’s vision is a just and equitable world free from racism and other systems of oppression.

Mindful of this vision, the Living Legacy Project’s mission is to provide experiential education about the American Civil Rights Movement that challenges, inspires, and equips people from diverse backgrounds and identities for justice work in their communities and beyond.”

The National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present.

Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 student visits annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement, examine today’s global civil and human rights issues, provoke thoughtful debate, and serve as a catalyst for positive social change.”


Per Graceland, “You’ve heard the music, now see the place Elvis called home. Explore the beautiful mansion, walk the gardens where he found peace, tour the aircraft that he traveled on from show to show, and encounter Elvis Presley’s Memphis entertainment complex for an unforgettable experience featuring legendary costumes, artifacts, and personal mementos from Elvis and his family.”