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Each week on the Junior Curators blog, we travel back in time to a different place in Tennessee history. Stories may be about a famous person, place or event from Tennessee’s past. They will include things like priceless artifacts, pictures, videos, and even some games. Be sure to better understand the story by answering the questions at the end of each post.
After learning the story, be sure to share what you've learned with your parents, family, or friends. Try making your own exhibit about it, shooting a movie, or writing a story about it. Let your creativity run wild!
by Emilee Dehmer
West Tennessee - Peabody Hotel, Memphis
There are so many cool and exciting places in Tennessee. So many, that you might not know about them all. That’s what Go See Tennessee is all about. We’re here to tell you about places we think are neat and that you might want to visit too. It might be helpful to make a “Go and See” List, and whenever you read about a place that sounds cool, write it down, to help you remember it for the future. Ready for this week’s place? Let’s go!
Ducks. You’ve probably seen them before, swimming in ponds, eating bread crumbs and quacking around. But have you ever seen a duck march in a duck parade? If you haven’t, add the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN to your ‘go and see’ list.
Image of Peabody Hotel. Tennessee State Museum Collection.
The famous Duck March has been happening at the historic Peabody Hotel since 1940 (that’s 80 years!). Every morning at exactly 11 am, the elevator doors open and out walk five ducks led by The Duckmaster. They walk down the duck-sized red carpet that has been laid out just for them and waddle down to the large fountain in the middle of the hotel lobby. They hop up the ducky staircase into the fountain and spend their day splish-splashin’ in the water.
Postcard showing the marble fountain inside the Peadbody Hotel, Tennessee State Museum Collection.
After a long day of looking cute and swimming in circles, the ducks line up for their second march of the day at 5 pm. The Duckmaster, in his fancy red suit, leads the ducks back down the carpet, up the elevator, and into their duck penthouse on the roof.
The best part? Kids can sit at the edge of the red carpet and get a close-up view of the ducks as they make their march! It may not be a red carpet for a movie star, but these ducks are famous in a different way. And if you’re wondering how in the world this duck parade got started, it was all because of a failed hunting trip. In the 1930’s, the manager returned from a hunting trip that didn’t go well, and decided to release some live ducks in the fountain as a joke. The guests loved it so much that the ducks were allowed to stay!
Small brass pin from the Peabody Hotel, Tennessee State Museum Collection.
So, make sure you parade on down to the Peabody Hotel at 11 am or 5 pm to watch the Peabody Ducks on their duck march. And if you get hungry while waiting, make sure you’ve brought some quackers to munch on.
To learn more about the Peabody Hotel and their ducks, visit their website at:
To see more, watch the video below:
Emilee Dehmer is an Educator at the Tennessee State Museum.