Civil Rights Memorial Center set to reopen on Thursday after renovations

The Civil Rights Memorial Center (CRMC) is set to reopen on Thursday, unveiling new exhibits and updates designed to enhance visitors’ understanding of the civil rights movement and the ongoing struggle for justice in the U.S.

“We are excited to welcome visitors back to the CRMC after closing temporarily in March 2020 due to COVID-19,” said CRMC Director Tafeni English. “Prior to the pandemic, we began working with Monadnock Media on renovations that would enhance visitor experience and do a better job of connecting the past to the present. This work is now more important than ever in light of the current moment of racial reckoning ignited by the brutal police killing of George Floyd.”

The center, maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), first opened in 2005 as an interpretive space for the Civil Rights Memorial, located in downtown Montgomery to honor the lives of 40 people killed during the modern Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968).

Thousands of people visit the CRMC each year to learn about the movement and stories of the individuals whose names are inscribed on the memorial.

When the CRMC reopens on Jan. 13, visitors will find several new features, including:

  • community poem exhibit, compiled by New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander;
  • modifications to the theater room and a new film produced by Monadnock Media for the SPLC, Apathy Is Not an Option;
  • A motion-activated educational video overview of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the first gallery;
  • kiosks offering the story of the memorial, including its design and video from the 1989 dedication ceremony;
  • and an interactive table that allows visitors to learn more about the martyrs and key dates from the movement.

The updates also include a high-definition mural on the hallway between the martyr room and the final gallery featuring key social justice events in recent years. An interactive tool is also available for more information about contemporary social justice matters such as criminal justice reform, economic justice, voting rights and more.

“The reopening of the CRMC comes precisely at the right moment as our country grapples with efforts to prevent the teaching of an honest history about race and racism in our schools,” said Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the SPLC. “The CRMC and museums across the country can help fill those gaps. I’m thrilled that the CRMC is reopening to once again help visitors understand the truth about the history of civil rights advocacy in this country.”

The CRMC will reopen with some restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visitors will be required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks.

The space will also be limited to groups of no more than 20 people. The hours of operation are Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT. The gift shop will remain closed until further notice.

In honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and Black History Month, admission will be free through the month of February 2022. Visitors must register for tickets online here.

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