Even though it's known as Music City, Nashville is a treasure and a tourist destination for other reasons as well—it boasts a long and diverse history, abundant culture and charm, natural beauty, and architectural gems. This southern gem has a kind of international flavor as well as some of the best, and most unusual, museums in the country.
Here's a sampling:
Country Music Hall of Fame
Visit this unique museum and research center to learn about and enjoy the history of a strictly American musical genre. It's a must see, that often includes live presentations to complement its galleries and exhibits. During the year, a number of public programs are available, and any time is a great time to visit!
Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
The former Nashville Municipal Auditorium houses this music-themed museum that honors all genres, as well as displaying the actual instruments played by a number of legendary performers. It's conveniently located in the heart of downtown.
Other places of interest to music fans include the George Jones Museum, which is also an event center with food and drink in a convivial atmosphere, the Patsy Cline Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum, both of which tell the life stories of two beloved performers.
History and Culture
Tennessee State Museum
Spanning state history from early frontier days through the antebellum South, the Civil War and on to modern times, this 60,000 square foot museum in the Arts District offers a capsulized view of an unusual state and its people. Plan to spend an adequate amount of time to view the many exhibits or participate in special learning programs.
Tennessee State Capitol
Though not a museum in the normal sense of the word, the capitol building is an experience in historical perspective; it's also an architectural gem and well worth a visit.
Belle Meade Plantation & Belmont Mansion
These two unique house museums provide a glimpse into the lifestyles of real people in the 19th Century. They are both beautiful examples of the architecture and customs of the time. Docent-led tours are offered at each location.
Art and Education
Visual arts are celebrated in many forms and in numerous museums throughout Nashville, but nowhere as brilliantly as at the Parthenon
Parthenon in Central Park
A 42-foot statue of Athena is the focus of the recreated Greek temple, a major source of pride for locals, as well as a prime visitor attraction. The Cowan Collection of American Art is a highlight, and frequent special exhibits are held in the East and West Galleries.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Spectacular Frist Center is a classic museum, with enough special exhibits to enthrall any visitor. Senior Mondays with half-price admission are especially popular, as are interactive family activities and films. Don't miss it!
There are other fine arts galleries and numerous special places to captivate Nashville visitors. Be sure to find and visit those that cater to special interests, including the following:
Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery
Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art
Other Fun Places to Visit
Transportation and sports hold a special place in Nashville's past and present. Check these out, just for fun:
Lane Motor Museum
Tennessee Central Railway Museum
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
Finally, depending on the length of your Nashville stay, there are a number of other special interest museums and attractions to seek out, and the Nashville Zoo is a perfect place to take children for a day. Just consider it a "living museum."
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