This museum was built on the very site where the Rhythm Night Club went up in flames on April 23, 1940 while the famous Orchestra Band of Walter Barnes was performing on a Tuesday evening. 209 people died on this site, including Barnes and 8 of his band members.
The Rhythm Night Club Fire Museum honors and commemorates the lives of 209 African Americans who perished in the April 23, 1940 fire. At the time, the fire was the second most deadly fire in the history of the nation. It is now ranked as the fourth deadliest assembly and club fire in U. S. history. The fire would forever change the African American community in Natchez. Today, the museum features exhibits that focus on mid-20th century Natchez, the African-American community and the fire.