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Historic Sites: Memphis is still the largest spot cotton market in the world - although you will no longer find trucks filled with the just-harvested fluffy white bolls in downtown Memphis any longer. (Remember Tom Cruise jumping onto just such a truck in the movie 'The Firm?') The Cotton Exchange Building was home base for cotton trading, the surrounding buildings and alleys dedicated to cotton warehousing and transportation. The museum, housed on the first floor of the Exchange, recounts the fascinating history of cotton in Memphis, with excellent exhibits showing how trading was conducted, how cotton is graded, and films detailing the crop's history throughout the South.

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Local Expert Sally Walker Davies Says:

Historic Sites: "The museum's gift shop not only carries cotton-themed products, you'll also find locally produced foods and crafts for sale – a must-hit."

Best for Historic Sites Because: The Cotton Museum examines the realities of this crop, which was harvested by slaves and sold by the powerful.

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