Discover how rock and soul influenced different cultures and lifestyles as you journey through, “Social Crossroads” at Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum. Part of our group bus tour, the Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum chronicles the artists and music that shaped the Memphis’ sound.

The first museum to be developed by the Smithsonian Institution partnered with another museum (the National Museum of American History), the Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum began as a research project in honor of the Smithsonian Institution’s 150th anniversary in 1996. Opened on April 29, 2000 in the Gibson Center, the Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum was later moved to the FedExForum and remains there to this day.

Rock-N-Soul Museum

Rock-N-Soul Museum

Rock-N-Soul Museum

Rock-N-Soul Museum

Rock-N-Soul Museum

Rock-N-Soul Museum

Rock-N-Soul Museum Rock-N-Soul Museum
Rock-N-Soul Museum Rock-N-Soul Museum
Rock-N-Soul Museum Rock-N-Soul Museum

The Rock N Soul Museum Today

Since opening its doors in 2000, the Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum has seen over 200,000 locals and tourists. Take an audio guided tour through the museum’s seven galleries and see the story of rock and soul unfold through extensive audio footage, artifacts and audio visual programs.



Start your visit off with a short documentary film and then explore the museum’s seven galleries supported by artifacts, videos, pictures, words and music. Using your personal audio guide you’ll learn about everything from the rural fieldhollers and sharecroppers of the 1930s to rock ‘n’ roll legends like Elvis Presley.

Audio Guide

The museum’s audio guide boasts over 300 minutes of information including over 100 songs. Learn about music legends including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Phillips, Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave and other renowned artists.



Over 30 instruments, 40 costumes and other musical treasures can be found throughout the Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum bringing the story of Memphis’ music to life.


Rural Culture

After leaving Mississippi due to the lack of work, many field hollers and sharecroppers headed for Memphis. In the, “Rural Culture” gallery discover how many of Memphis’ music icons dirtied their hands in the fields long before the studios.


Rural Music

From music passed down from generation to generation to those who were influenced by the radio, discover how blues, country and gospel came together and formed a musical revolution in the, “Rural Music” gallery.


Coming to Memphis

Holding the promise of jobs, many sharecroppers and field hollers headed for Memphis. Despite the segregation, see how airwaves, recordings and live performances crossed the color line on Beale Street in, “Coming to Memphis”.  


Sun Records & Youth Culture

Established by Sam Phillips, Sun Records gave many small time musicians their big break and redefined the music scene both nationally and internationally. Learn about the beginnings of Memphis sound, legends like B.B. King and the cultural impact that the Memphis sound had on its youth.


Soul Music

While the white youth expressed themselves through rock ‘n’ roll, the African- Americans found their identity through soul.  Uncover the origins of soul and see how it went from being a form of entertainment to a vehicle for political expression and community activism. 


Social Change

During the 50s and 60s not only Memphis, but the entire nation went through turbulent change. While Martin Luther King Jr. led the United States through the Civil Rights Revolution, Memphis led a revolution of its own. In the, “Social Change” gallery you can see how the Memphis sound played an important role in the city’s dynamics and made an indelible impression on the world.


Bravo Gallery

Memphis’ musical icons not only put the river city on the musical map, but have had a significant impact on the Civil Rights Movement. Pay you respects to the individuals who changed the world in the “Bravo Gallery”.

Shopping in the Gift Shop

Don’t forget to stop by the Gift Shop. Whether you want a small keepsake to remember your time at the museum, or that special gift for a loved one, the Gift Shop carries everything from t-shirts and sweaters with the original Rock ‘N’ Soul logo to coffee mugs and tumblers.