About The Venue
The Cotton Museum tells the amazing story of Cotton on the original trading floor of The Memphis Cotton Exchange. The trade floor was the heart of a regional economy, a crossroads for many cultures, and a place where fortunes were made and lost. The event space truly reflects Memphis’ unique history and southern charm. The Cotton Museum space is the perfect venue for your professional and private events, from catered dinners to cocktail parties to meetings. Complete with a catering kitchen and two large restrooms, it’s an ideal space for entertaining. The Museum also boasts the uncommon convenience of a parking garage next door. Centrally located downtown on the corner of Union Avenue and Front Street, our venue will put you just steps away from all that downtown has to offer. Built in 1922, the Trade Floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange features 3,200 square feet of ornate 1920’s architectural detail, 30-foot ceilings, and beautiful arched windows. The trade floor has enjoyed a full restoration and this once private club is now open for your guests to enjoy. If you would like to see photos of our space or are looking for inspiration for your event, check out our website or look us up on Facebook.
Rental of the historic trade floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange includes access to the venue for up to eight hours, use of our catering kitchen, restrooms, storage facilities, exploration hall and the classroom area. The rental fee includes a security guard for most events from the time your event starts until it ends. A Cotton Museum representative will also be present at the venue during your event. Also included in your rental fee is use of our tables (chart below). Catered events require a copy of the caterer’s liability policy no later than 2 weeks before the event occurs. Floor plans and exhibit placement should be planned one week before the event takes place.
Reserving The Venue
Rental of the Historic Cotton Exchange Trade Floor is based on availability. Rental Prices may vary depending on the date and time of your event. A 50% deposit is required to reserve the date of your event. The Cotton Museum business closes at 5pm. If your event is scheduled to take place during our business hours, we are happy to accommodate you. However, special arrangements require an hourly closing fee for losses to our business.
Time & Setup
Your rental includes access to the space for up to eight hours. This includes setup and breakdown time. Our business closes at 5pm. Rental fees do not include setup and breakdown labor, but we are happy to provide services if needed. All music must be turned off no later than 11:30 p.m. Cleanup and breakdown must start no later than 12:00am and must be finished no later than 1:00am.
The Cotton Museum allows you to use the caterer of your choice for your event. We do have a list of preferred caterers should you request it. Caterers must provide proof of insurance to the museum 30 days prior to the event.
Our kitchen is equipped with a large double door refrigerator, two large sinks, an ice maker, a microwave, and prep space. Your caterer must supply other heating equipment. Storage for food and flowers the day before the event can be arranged based on availability.
Tables, Chairs, Linens & Other Equipment
Below is chart of available tables. Use of our tables is included in your rental fee, but we do not supply linens or chairs for your event. Rentals of linens and chairs are the responsibility of the lessee. For your convenience we have included table measurements and measurements for appropriate tablecloths.
|Table Type||Available Quantity||Needed Cloth Size|
|6′ rectangle||7||90″x 132″ (to the floor)|
|8′ rectangle||2||90″ x 156″|
|60″ round||8||120″ round (to the floor)
|32″ round bistro
|6||120″ round (to the floor)
Supply Delivery & Storage
The Cotton Museum is happy to work with other vendors and rental companies of your preference. Arrangements for deliveries must be made through our office manager, Matt Hicks. We have plenty of storage space for chairs, tables, linens, decor, etc. The classroom can be used for additional event space, storage, a coatroom or dressing room during your event.
The Cotton Museum allows you to supply the alcohol for your event. Alcohol cannot be served to a person under the age of twenty-one (21) for any reason. A licensed bartender, being at least the age of 18 and possessing a valid copy of their Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Certification, must serve all alcohol. Either the catering company or the individual bartender must provide a copy of this certification. Record of valid TABC cards must be on file three (3) business days prior to the event.
Cleanup & Breakdown
The lessee should remove personal items. The catering kitchen will be clean prior to your event and is expected to be clean upon your departure and/or the departure of your chosen caterer. Cleaning of the catering kitchen includes making sure that all things brought in are removed and spills and messes are cleaned. All counters must be wiped down with a disinfectant spray and floors should be cleared of all debris. All trash must be removed and taken to the garbage compactor across the street. Failure to comply with these conditions will result in the lessee being charged a $250 cleanup fee. The Cotton Museum is happy to provide services for cleanup and breakdown labor for an additional fee. This fee includes the breakdown and removal of trash, tables, chairs, linens and debris.
Rules & Museum Property
Only Cotton Museum staff is properly trained to move museum exhibits and property. Under no circumstance should anyone try to move any property that belongs to the Cotton Museum. The lessee is responsible for any damage to property during the time the event takes place. No museum property can be lifted or moved unless done so by the appropriate museum hired employee. Decorations may not to be placed on walls or woodwork with nails or pressure sensitive tape. No person is allowed on the museum catwalk or the steps to the catwalk. All rental equipment, decorations, food, etc. must be removed at the end of the event. Rice, birdseed, flower petals, confetti, bubbles, etc. may not be used inside or outside of the Cotton Exchange building. Smoking is not allowed inside the Cotton Exchange Building. The Lessee assumes responsibility for guest notification, for damage to exhibits or otherwise, that might occur from noncompliance.
Some metered and free parking is available on the streets surrounding the museum. Street parking is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis. The building’s only entrance is on Union Avenue. Directly in front of the big, brass doors and awning that mark the entrance is a loading zone. You may utilize this zone while delivering supplies or as guests are dropped off for your event. Access is available on a first come, first served basis. All cars in the loading zone must be attended, and flashers must be operating at all times.
A parking garage called Parking Can be Fun is conveniently located on Union Avenue, two doors down from the Museum. You can contact the attendant at 901-578-7426.