Where Are the 11 Best Museums in Nashville, TN?

History is deep in Nashville and there's a museum for just about everything. Here are the top choices for your next museum visit.

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Where Are the 11 Best Museums in Nashville, TN?

Posted by Gary Ashton on Monday, February 12th, 2024 at 9:17am.

The Best Museums in Nashville, TN

Nashville, TN, is not just about music; it's also a treasure trove of museums that tell fascinating stories from various perspectives. Whether you're interested in history, art, or science, Nashville's museums offer something for everyone. These cultural landmarks are must-see Nashville attractions that take you on a journey through time, showcasing everything from ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces. Explore the rich heritage and creativity of this vibrant city through its most iconic museums. Discover Nashville's museums, where every exhibit opens a window to a new world.

Frist Art Museum

Located on Broadway in the building that once housed Nashville's first post office, the Frist Art Museum is dedicated to showcasing the finest visual art from Tennessee, as well as work from major national and international artists.

The Frist building, located in Downtown Nashville on the edge of The Gulch, was constructed in the mid-1930s using funds from the Public Works Administration. It gracefully combines classical elements and national symbols with an Art Deco sensibility. The museum preserved the Art Deco theme; it can be seen throughout the 24,000-square-foot exhibition space and even in the post office at the west end of the building.

The museum has a number of permanent exhibits, including a large collection of works from the mid-18th century to the present, with a strong focus on modern and contemporary art. The museum also houses temporary exhibits that highlight artistic contributions from around the world. Visitors might see a retrospective of Spanish American art or a gallery exhibit of the works of a single artist. 

In addition to visual art exhibits, the museum is also a destination for musical performances and classes for personal enrichment. Both classical and modern music performances are held regularly. Adults can take classes such as drawing, pottery, or modern embroidery. 

What to Know About the Frist Art Museum

  • Address: 919 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
  • Hours: Monday: 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday: Closed; Thursday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Friday: 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Sunday: 1–5:30 p.m.
  • Admission: Adults $15, Seniors and Students $10; Military $8, Members and Children free

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage

The Hermitage Museum: Home of Andrew JacksonOne of the largest and most popular presidential museums is the Hermitage Presidential Museum. It was the home of President Andrew Jackson from 1804 until his death in 1845, and it was sold to the state of Tennessee by the Jackson family in 1855.

The Ladies' Hermitage Association has been taking care of the museum, located in the Hermitage neighborhood, since 1889. The property is currently considered a historic site in the State of Tennessee, and it has become a National Historic Landmark that stands on a 1,120-acre plot of land. The Hermitage boasts a historic museum along with some recreational and farming facilities.

The Hermitage was the very first Smithsonian Institution Affiliate Museum, bringing in roughly around 200,000 visitors from all over the world per annum.

What to Know About Andrew Jackson's Hermitage

  • Address: 4580 Rachels Lane, Hermitage, TN 37076
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week
  • Admission (basic grounds pass): Adults $20, Youth (5–12) $13, Children (0–4) free with ticketed adult

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

One of the top things to do in Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame recognizes contributions to the art and business of country music. The Hall of Fame welcomed Hank Wiliams, Jimmie Rodgers, and Fred Rose as its first inductees in 1961, and a new class of members is added every year.

Run by the Country Music Association (CMA), the Hall of Fame also serves as a museum and educational center. Inside the museum—which is located in the trendy SoBro neighborhood—you'll see exhibits dedicated to individual musicians, including new Hall of Fame inductees. You will also see general exhibits that offer perspectives on different aspects of country music and its history. 

Visitors can also see visual arts associated with the music scene in the Hatch Show Print's Haley Gallery. Past exhibits include concert art, block print posters, and more. The Country Music Hall of Fame is also a popular music venue. Catch everything from live band performances to intimate songwriter sessions.

What to Know About the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

  • Address: 222 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN 37203
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week
  • Admission: Adults $27.95, Youth (6–12) $17.95, Children 5 and under are free

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens

Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art Flower Garden

The Cheekwood Estate and Gardens was once the sprawling West Nashville area home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek. The 30,000-square-foot mansion and the surrounding 55 acres of cultivated gardens now serve as an arboretum, botanical garden, and museum.

There are 13 distinct outdoor gardens, as well as a 1.5-mile woodland trail dotted with outdoor sculptures. The stunning gardens have garnered a number of awards and accolades, including Level II National Arboretum Accreditation. They have also been highlighted in USA Today's Top 10 Botanical Gardens list on multiple occasions. The garden exhibits change throughout the year and include a quarter of a million blooming bulbs in spring and a 1-mile string of holiday lights in winter.

Inside the museum, you'll see a number of period rooms preserved to show historic decor and architecture. Art gallery exhibits showcase objects from the Cheek Family collection. Visitors will see fine textiles, furniture, silver, paintings, and decorative works of art. 

Works on display include portraits of Jamie Wyeth and Andy Warhol, as well as works from many prominent early 20th-century artists. 

What to Know About the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens

  • Address: 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville, TN 37205
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday; closed Mondays
  • Admission (Gardens & Mansion): Adults $26–$29, Youth (3–17) $19–$22, Seniors (65+) $24–$29

Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum, located on the southern edge of the bustling Germantown neighborhood, offers a selection of temporary and permanent exhibits that tell the story of the state's history. Viewers can begin at the Revolutionary War exhibit to learn more about the region's role in forging the nation. Then, visit the Civil War and Reconstruction exhibit to learn about how the state transformed with changing events. Discover rooms dedicated to First People's history and the area's natural history.

Temporary exhibits focus on specific aspects of the state's history. Visitors might see an exhibit telling the story of the region's evolving cuisine during one visit. During another, they may see a retrospective of work from a prominent local artist or an exhibit highlighting the life of an important historical figure. 

The Tennessee State Museum also hosts a number of programs and events throughout the year. Crafting programs are regularly available and allow visitors to try their hands at crocheting, Choctaw Beading, and other handiwork. The museum also hosts a children's story hour every Tuesday and Saturday.

What to Know About the Tennessee State Museum

  • Address: 1000 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday; 1:00–5:00 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday
  • Admission: Free

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, just outside the Tennessee State Capitol and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, one of Nashville's best parks.

Not just dedicated to country music, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum covers all genres from funk to R&B. With a little bit of everything, this is a great place to explore the history of music.

What to Know About the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

  • Address: 401 Gay Street, Nashville, TN 37219
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday–Saturday, closed Sunday
  • Admission (Self-Guided Tours): Adults $28, Youth (6–17) $15, Children 5 and under are free

Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery

The Bell Meade Plantation Dairy BuildingThe Belle Meade Plantation, located in the Belle Meade neighborhood, is one of the premier places to visit in Music City. Whether on a vacation or staycation in Nashville, a visit to the site is a must.

This esteemed estate, known for its thoroughbred legacy, unfolds stories of the past with its well-preserved mansion, sprawling grounds, and original outbuildings. A guided tour of the mansion reveals the rich tapestry of Southern heritage and the pivotal role Belle Meade played in American horse racing. The experience is enhanced by a visit to the winery, where guests can savor tastings of locally produced wines, marrying the site's historical charm with the pleasures of modern-day Nashville. It's an enriching excursion that blends history, culture, and the senses.

What to Know About the Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery

  • Address: 5025 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week
  • Admission: Tours priced from $28 and up

Other Notable Nashville Museums

Though Nashville's museums are far too plentiful to break down each and every one, there are several additional museums that must be noted—and should be visited! They include:

  • Lane Motor Museum: Automobile museum with more than 150 unique, collectible cars and motorcycles; largest European car collection in the country
  • The Johnny Cash Museum: Houses the largest collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia
  • National Museum of African American Music: Honors, recognizes, and preserves the music and genres created by African Americans
  • The Parthenon: Greek replica in Centennial Park that houses Nashville's art museum

Visit These Must-See Nashville Museums Today

Nashville's museums stand as vibrant testimonies to the city's rich cultural, historical, and artistic tapestry. Each museum offers a unique lens through which visitors can explore different facets of human creativity and heritage. From the storied walls of the Country Music Hall of Fame to the masterpieces housed in the Frist, these institutions enrich the cultural landscape of the Nashville region. Venturing through these museums not only educates but also inspires, leaving visitors with a deeper appreciation for the arts, sciences, and the stories that weave the fabric of Nashville.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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