Take a peek at what's planned as major renovation project begins at National Civil Rights Museum

What’s happening: Big changes are coming to the National Civil Rights Museum campus. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held at the site on Tuesday, May 16, as local officials and community stakeholders celebrated the start of a two-year expansion that will transform the museum’s Legacy Building and Founders Park.

Why it’s important: “The renovation of the Legacy Building and Founders Park is a transformative milestone for the National Civil Rights Museum as we continue to educate, inspire, and influence the nation and the world,” Museum President Dr. Russ Wigginton said in a statement prior to the groundbreaking. “We are extremely grateful to our early supporters who recognize the power of this place and have demonstrated a commitment to our vision.”

What’s planned: Planned renovations of the Legacy Building – the site from where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin fired his gun – will include an expansion of the first floor of the historic boarding house, adding exhibits on the Poor People’s Campaign and Freedom Award, and flexible digital exhibitions. The second floor will feature exhibitions on the Civil Rights Movement since Dr. King’s murder, and the third floor will feature exhibitions examining contemporary activist-led movements.

And in Founders Park, located outside the museum and the historic Lorraine Motel building, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has promised up to $9.6 million for the renovation of the space. That includes landscape architecture, lighting, water features, seating, and art installations. The park will be reimagined and transformed from being a thoroughfare and into a destination, intended for gatherings, events, and contemplative respite.

[Related: Read "Now open: Ribbon cutting ceremony held for new activity center at South City's Foote Park" on High Ground News.]

What they’re saying: “The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation is proud to partner with the National Civil Rights Museum on this reimagined space,” Kevin Woods, BlueCross Memphis market president, said in a statement prior to the groundbreaking. “With our investment, the BlueCross Healthy Place at Founders Park will provide a new type of shared experience for museum visitors, strengthen the sense of community in the space, and allow the museum to expand and enhance its programming for years to come.”
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