Framing the Mississippi
Not only did the entire building and design team universally understand the importance of connecting to our river, they consistently looked to create spaces for gathering to view it.
The River Window and Riverview Terrace will be amongst the most compelling public spaces at the new museum with free access and unparalleled views. The River Window welcomes visitors with a beautiful, framed view of the Mississippi and provides a magnetic connection between the completely enclosed parking area and the enormous courtyard above.
The Riverview Terrace on the roof of Memphis' new art museum frames views of both the city's exciting progress and the iconic unchanging natural horizon, cross river.
The Riverview Terrace celebrates and connects visitors to the horizon that inspired our great-grandparents and will do the same for generations to come.
More places to gather
Maximizing every inch of the new museum, architects placed a stunning theater on a mezzanine above the lobby; that way, the first floor remains dedicated to galleries and education spaces.
The Theater's floor-to-ceiling glass screen overlooks the courtyard and the city skyline, an unmatched backdrop for concerts, classes, lectures, screenings, corporate events or the simple beauty of a Memphis sunset. The glass screen is equipped with shades that can make the theater light-tight to provide a prime viewing experience. In the courtyard, visitors can have their own viewing of family films or art experiences that are projected onto the exterior of the theater's screen.
The courtyard is the largest of the many free and public spaces at Memphis' new art museum. From Chalkfest to Día de los Muertos, it ensures the large-scale programming our city loves will remain a staple in the museum's lineup.
The next step in the design process will be to incorporate landscaping, making the courtyard an urban oasis for Memphis and gathering place for individuals or groups of almost any size.
The museum has the region's largest collection of world art, with 10,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of art and cultures.
At Memphis' new art museum, the art galleries and education spaces will seamlessly connect on a single floor. Visitors will enter galleries on either side of the lobby and strategically placed 'pause spaces' will allow them to view and reconnect with the courtyard and river. Along with how artwork is placed, this single-floor, non-hierarchical approach will ensure that no art form is privileged over another.
The democratized art experience will spur dialogue across time, geography, and cultures.
For students and learners of all ages, education will be at the heart of museum programming. Accordingly, the education classrooms and the family interactive space immediately adjoin the galleries. New and exciting educational materials will also be woven into the galleries themselves.
The Front Porch
The new museum will occupy an entire city block. Much of what the new museum offers will be on the first floor and level with Front Street.
Thus visitors are seamlessly welcomed 'home' into a light-filled space without barriers—real or imagined—to the museum experience. The Lobby connects the street to the rest of the new museum: from the much-expanded galleries and education spaces, museum store, and fully-services café to the many places for public gathering, including the River Window, theater, courtyard, and right on up to the rooftop with its vistas of the river and city.
Experience our city's new art museum through Augmented Reality
Memphis' new art museum will transform this underutilized riverfront parcel into a true civic asset that builds on the rich history, importance, and value of the Mississippi.
The architecture will be unrivaled in the city and region and will provide a beautiful community gathering place that both anchors and serves as a crossroad for public life. Memphis' new art museum will attract residents and tourists alike, offering a world-class cultural experience.