National Civil Rights Museum

AV Technology Highlights the Civil Rights Movement
Memphis, Tennessee

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The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis reopened following a renovation, which added new spaces, films and interactive audio and video exhibits. Marking 50 years since the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act, the museum retains the iconic Montgomery Bus, sit-in lunch counter and Memphis sanitation truck. Working closely with exhibition designers Howard+Revis Design Services, Electrosonic provided the AV design, installation and programming.

National Civil Rights Museum

For the past 20 years, the museum has been located at the site of the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The courtyard was renovated to house five interactive Listening Posts, which comprise portrait-oriented 10-inch outdoor-rated touch screens, waterproof speakers and network-enabled video players with touch screen interfaces.

The “Mapping Slavery and Resistance” exhibit features an ultra short-throw projector and an 85 by 53-inch rear projection screen. In the newly-enlarged Introductory Theater, a 12-minute movie recaps the history of the civil rights movement. Electrosonic outfitted the theater with a ceiling-mounted 3-chip DLP projector, and a 20 by 11.25-foot screen.

Electrosonic also provided the theater’s surround sound system and the AV system controller, which commands the show via a control touch panel. An FM wireless assisted listening system has also been supplied for visitors. The theater is also equipped for presentations with a small portable rack featuring a Blu-ray player and AV switcher, and can connect to a laptop.

National Civil Rights Museum

The main exhibit area highlights the struggles of the civil rights movement. “Living Under Jim Crow” features 30 portraits, which deliver testimonials when touched. “Brown Versus Board of Education” has a 67 by 50-inch projection screen, an ultra short-throw projector, and mounted speakers. Three 55-inch monitors, in portrait mode, fitted with a multi-touch overlay frame help visitors engage in “Mapping School De-segregation.” “Albany Freedom Songs” is highlighted by a ceiling-mounted projector, four wall-mounted speakers and a 10 by 7.6-foot painted screen wall. A similar projector displays photos from the “Children’s Crusade” on a screen made from a special film applied to a glass substrate so images can be viewed from the front or back.

National Civil Rights Museum

Four interactive stations, featuring 15-inch touch screens, headphone amps and handsets, bring the “March on Washington” to life. The momentous “Freedom Summer of 1964” is illustrated by an ultra short-throw projector mounted below and behind a rear projection screen made of a rigid material with an image size of approximately 62 by 44 inches. For “Join the Movement,” Electrosonic installed four 55-inch ultra-narrow mullion monitors into a touch table with eight active mini array speakers in the table surround. Martin Luther King, Jr. makes his famed “Mountain Top Speech” on a 55-inch monitor and four ceiling speakers.

National Civil Rights Museum

The museum tour ends in the new Ellipsis Theater where a ceiling-mounted projector displays images on a 183 by 103-inch screen. One long speaker is installed under the screen along with eight ceiling speakers and two ceiling-mounted subwoofers.

1220 Exhibits was the exhibit fabricator; Cortina Productions and Second Story were the media designers and producers.

National Civil Rights Museum