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Cultural History of the Mid-South

In MoSH’s Cultural Exhibits, a huge array of artifacts and dioramas invite you to explore our city’s and region's past.

The First Americans, butcher marks on a mastodon bone tell of a successful Paleolithic hunt. An extraordinary collection of finely crafted tools and Native American pottery are remnants of a complex civilization on the Mississippi. Mystical hunchback figures, grim disembodied human heads, and whimsical animal effigies, all carefully buried with the dead, reflect the spiritual beliefs of this mysterious culture.

The History of Memphis, 1800-1900 tells the story of Memphis from its birth as a frontier river town to its emergence as a vital Victorian Era city. Slavery and emancipation, disease and medicine, privilege and persecution are all brought to life through objects of both everyday life and extraordinary events. See Memphis housing from a reconstructed frontier cabin to an opulent Victorian music room  An horrific battle diorama forms the centerpiece of the Civil War gallery.  Thomas Harwell’s “mummy casket,” in its darkened alcove, represents an archeological mystery solved, while a mail coach, private buggy and public omnibus evoke the era of horse-drawn transportation.

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