The Cotton Museum is located on the historic trade floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange building where cotton traders once stood at the center of the global cotton economy. The museum tells the story of how this crop changed shaped a country’s politics, people, and economy. This grand space is now filled with striking artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of King Cotton and its impact on the world. Highlights include original films, detailing specific aspects of the cotton industry, oral histories from individuals involved, and exciting temporary exhibits.
The Cotton Exchange was founded after the Civil War in 1874 because a trade organization was needed to regulate the buying and selling of cotton in the city. The Cotton Exchange was responsible for determining the prices of cotton, the selling, and the grading of cotton. Due to technological innovations, the Cotton Exchange closed in the late 1970s and the bottom floor of the building became a museum in 2006.