Memphis Metal Museum Memphis Tennessee
Kicking and Screaming
Have you ever gone kicking and screaming someplace to be totally overwhelmed by what you found when you got there? Dad usually visit us, but his days of traveling may be over. So here we are in Millington, Tennessee for the second time in six months. There is no internet at Dad's. Dial-up doesn't even work the phone system is so rural. (Dial-up would probably make me mad anyway.) If Memphis were home it would be one thing, but it isn't. Dad moved here to be near his siblings. He was born and reared in Nebraska; all of his children were reared in Chicago and Detroit. Now he has kids in California, Michigan and Massachusetts. Tennessee us a foreign place to us.
Dad's oldest brother met a gal when he was stationed in Millington,Tennessee during Korea. Then his oldest sister married a guy in Chicago whose family was from Mississippi and they moved south. Grammy a Grandpa moved south when grandpa retired. The rest followed them. I am a native of Californian.( Dad is my father-in-law of 35 years) Memphis is culture shock for both my husband and I. We have been to Graceland twice, it isn't in the budget this trip.
Last year when we were here were in Tennessee we talked to the local librarian about interesting things to do in the area. She recommended a metal museum that overlooked the Mississippi River. She said, "If you only wandered around the grounds it is free". I was excited about the prospect of exploring this area by the river, but I was on crutches, it was raining and nobody in the family knew what I was talking about. Actually they went so far as to give me a funny look and say "This isn't really a good area to go wondering about without some specific destination".
This was a mystery I intended to solve. Why would a librarian send me to a shady part of town on purpose? Well, we got home and that was a far as I got with the idea. We had another trip to Tennessee planned for April. I planned to look up this place before we left. That was as far as I got. Most of the time goggling is no big thing. The computer follows me all over the world. Remember, we don't have internet at the house, but some things are meant to be.
Back in Tennessee; wondering how to discover the information on the metal museum and kicking myself for not researching before leaving my internet at home I could find no one who had any idea what I was talking about.
The plan of the day was mowing the front lawn. Dad has a riding mower which I love. We relax more in Tennessee than any place we go. Since there is no hurry to mow, I read the paper over a second cup of coffee. Before my eyes in the, "Commercial Appeal", is an article about the Memphis Metal Museum. Oh! Oh! Oh! Dad and my husband look at me like I am a lunatic. There is a special event on Sunday and all the information is there. The Dad's lawn doesn't really need mowing that badly. Ready, set, go!
I drag my poor husband into Memphis to see the Memphis Metal Museum.
The mystery solved,the best adventure in Memphis is about to begin.
The Mighty Mississippi
I have always been enthralled by rivers you can't swim across. California rivers are not wide. The Sacramento River is large enough for ocean going ships to travel from San Francisco Bay to Stockton, but you can still swim across most of it.
Just about anything that has to do with travel excites me. My imagination takes me to Mark Twain's Mississippi riverboats and ladies in long skirts.
This day will be wonderful if for no other reason than we can sit in the gazebo at the museum, drink coffee, watch the river traffic.
Despite the overcast it is a pleasantly warm Memphis morning. The the flowers are in full bloom and their scents are sweet, just as you would expect on a southern spring morning.
My husband's Grandpa flew into San Francisco from Memphis years ago to attend a family wedding. Dad and his wife were flying in from Saint Louis about an hour later. It was in the days where you could still meet your family at the gate. Not working that day I was elected to meet him. Married to his grandson, I had only met him once. I had no problem finding him, we sat at the gate and he began to tell me the latest family news, Then Grandpa began telling me all about trotline fishing on the Mississippi. I had never heard of such a thing. I had no idea how to catch catfish. I was amazed by the whole explanation. Everyone else was amazed Grandpa had talked so much. He lived just a mile from the river, so it was his subject. While I didn't know if I wanted to run a trotline, I did know I wanted to see his part of the Mighty Mississippi.
We Rounded The Curb
Today, that dream of seeing grandpa's Mississippi river is coming true.
Plugged the address into the G.P.S. and off we went. We went passed the Martin Luther King Museum, turned off the main street rounded the curb and drove into another era; I wouldn't have been surprised to see a lady, in a hoop skirt, walking down the street holding the arm of a soldier. The Calvary would be there too. Maybe even Indians.
Memphis Comes Alive
On the bluffs of this amazing river Memphis came to be the largest city in the west. There was a time when it was the last outpost of civilization.
Memphis today is way more than the town where Martin Luther King Jr was killed. It is way more than, Beal Street, the home of The Blues.
The Chickasaw Indians built amazing mounds here on the banks of the Mississippi River. During the Civil War these mounds were hollowed out to make a defense for the union soldiers. Memphis, Tennessee was visited by the Spanish explorer Hernadaz De Soto long before King Cotton and racial tension. It was here the glory of the old south unexpectedly came alive for me.
Entering the National Metal Museum the detail of the ornate metal gates catch your eye. Then the garden draws you in. Beauty and wimsey delight you everywhere in the garden.
The Museum Compound
The Museum compound includes four old Marine Hospital buildings which, were part of Fort Pickerings. There is a guest residence for visiting artists, the main museum, the library and the blacksmith shop. To enter the museum and the library there is a fee.
- Adults are $6.00
- Seniors are $5..00
- Students with valid ID $4.00
- Children 5 and above $4.00
- Children under 5 free
Artists Guest House
In the blacksmith shop we're delighted when the smith came over to show us his portfolio and the dinning table he was creating. The base looks like the main branch of a tree. The top will be a slab of oak. It is stunning. Here the Smithies are commissioned to make things like this. Ornamental ironwork is sent from around the world to be repaired here. I love the cats on the property. Their food and water is in the blacksmith shop.
Kitty Looks Like Part Of Display
Black Smith Shop
Exhibits In The Museum Are Modern And Change Regularly
Permanant Displays In The Library
The library has an enormous number of books on alchemy. According to Merriam Webster alchemy is a power or process of transforming something common into something special. Transforming plain iron into intricate designs is certainly magic. Students from around the world come to study in this library.
The hand rails, fire grates, and doors of the library building are beautifully decorated iron work. The displays are permanent there.
The day was pleasantly warm and humid, but it was lunch time and we nearly by passed the park across the street from the Museum. Luckily, curiosity over came hunger; it would have been shameful to miss the park. Chickasaw Park presented us with a great history lesson of the area.
The Chickasaw Indians were the first to inhabit these bluffs. Later the Indians would meet the explorer Desoto, and eventually the United States Army would make this area the largest western outpost in the Country. Fort Pickering was staffed by the Union Army during the civil war Union. Union ships sailed up the Mississippi river and swiftly defeated the Confederate Army in the battle of Memphis. It was probably here the first Memphis race(1866) riots ensued. The people of Memphis were not pleased free slaves had status in society. After the civil war Fort Pickering was totally demolished. You see in the park the remains of the Indian mounds.
This adventure to the The Memphis Mental Museum was one of the best adventures to venture into in Memphis. The museum is just south of the Tennessee Arkansas bridge, on the banks of the Mississippi River. You will pass signs for the Civil Rights Museum as you head toward the river, but keep going toward the river.
The area around the metal works brings to the history of Memphis,Tennessee alive.
A mere 150 years ago, Memphis was the largest city on the Mississippi. This is the area the original colony was supposed to have been. The Indians thought this was a good place, as did the Union Army during the Civil War the original Fort Pickering was totally destroyed during racial riots. .
Wondering around in the buildings, or the grounds of this museum was fun, beautiful, relaxing and interesting. This is so much more than just a museum. N.O.M.O.M. is an art school that attracts students from around the world. It is the treasure of Memphis.
Remember, stop at Starbucks and bring a cup of coffee to sip as you sit and watch the river traffic.
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