On Saturday, from 1 to 3 p.m., the Cotton Museum will be taking it to the street for a walking tour it's calling "From Squidge to Snake: The Legends of Cotton Row." The street is Front, between Gayoso and Confederate Park to be exact, where everyone in the cotton business, from apprentice cotton classers (squidges) to merchants, used to ply their trade before computers and the Department of Agriculture's third-party classing system made the practices obsolete.
Eight of these former workers will be stationed along Front to provide a narrative ("snakes" are long bags of sample cotton), while 40 students from Memphis University School and Hutchison School will be on hand to observe. The tour is the first step in creating an audio-guided walking tour for the museum, which received a $10,000 Save Our History grant from the History Channel for the project.
"[The museum is] so small that we thought we needed to be able to tell the story, particularly the story of Memphis, in a larger
format," says Audrey Langham, director of the Cotton Museum. "This gets people walking up and down the street and engaged with where the history took place and what was going on."
After the tour, the students will interview participants and conduct research on the area. The material will then be put on MP3 players for tours to be made available at the Cotton Museum next spring.
"From Squidge to Snake: The Legends of Cotton Row," the Cotton Museum, 65 Union, Saturday, October 25th, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, go to memphiscottonmuseum.org.