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Monday, February 15, 2010

Black History Month Travel Tip of the Day No. 7: Memphis Cotton Museum

The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange tells the story of King Cotton in an appropriate setting: Memphis' historic Cotton Row along Front Street, what was once the center of the worldwide cotton trade. The museum opened in 2005.

The main exhibit hall at the museum is a 3,000-square-foot space where the story of cotton is told through documentary films, oral histories and interpretative exhibits. The museum will expand Feb. 26 when it opens the east wing called Exploration Hall. It will debut with "The Changing World of Cotton," an exhibit that allows visitors to explore the history of cotton farming over the past 70 years.

This museum is not focused on the black experience in America, per se, but without the backbreaking work performed by slaves, cotton might not have ever become the king it once was in the South. There are thousands of sites, museums and attractions in the United States that tell the story of Black America. But a museum focused on cotton seems like a pretty important place to get another perspective on African-American history.

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