35 Best Museums in Nashville, TN, To Explore

Nashville, also known as Music City, is a vibrant and lively city that attracts visitors from all around the world. While it’s famous for its country music scene, this southern gem has so much more to explore. One of the best ways to experience Nashville’s culture, history, and art is by visiting its many museums in Nashville.

These museums offer a glimpse into the city’s past and highlight its diverse culture and traditions. Let’s explore some of the best museums in Nashville to explore during your visit.

Frist Art Museum 

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, the First Art Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. The museum showcases an impressive collection of visual arts worldwide, including contemporary and historic pieces. The building, originally constructed in 1930 as Nashville’s main post office, is an architectural marvel and adds to the overall experience of visiting the museum. Don’t miss out on their ever-changing special exhibitions that feature works by renowned artists.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum 

No visit to Nashville is complete without exploring its rich music history at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This iconic museum celebrates country music legends and their contributions to the genre. With interactive exhibits, artifacts, and live performances, visitors can fully immerse themselves in country music and learn about its evolution over the years.

Tennessee State Museum 

Located on Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, the Tennessee State Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the state’s history. From Native American settlements to the Civil War era, this museum covers it all. The impressive collection includes everything from clothing, weapons, furniture, paintings, photography, and documents. Best of all – admission is free!

Johnny Cash Museum 

For fans of “The Man in Black,” visiting the Johnny Cash Museum is a must. The museum showcases the life and career of this legendary musician through interactive exhibits, rare memorabilia, and even his iconic costumes. You’ll also learn about Cash’s impact on American culture and his lasting legacy in the music industry.

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum 

This hidden gem is a paradise for musicians and music lovers alike. The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum honors the talented musicians who have significantly contributed to American popular music. With a diverse collection of instruments, personal items, and interactive exhibits, visitors can learn about the history and evolution of popular music genres such as rock, country, and soul.

National Museum of African American Music 

Located in downtown Nashville, the National Museum of African American Music is dedicated to celebrating and preserving the contributions of African Americans to music. Visitors can explore genres such as gospel, blues, hip-hop, and more through interactive exhibits. The museum also hosts live performances and educational programs that enrich the experience.

Patsy Cline Museum 

For fans of classic country music, visiting the Patsy Cline Museum is a must. This intimate museum celebrates the life and legacy of the iconic singer with personal artifacts, clothing, and rare photographs. Visitors can also listen to her greatest hits and learn about her impact on country music history.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage 

History buffs will love exploring Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the former home of the 7th President of the United States. Located just outside Nashville, this historic site offers guided tours through the mansion and grounds. Visitors can also explore exhibits that showcase Jackson’s life, career, and impact on American politics.

Madame Tussauds Nashville 

For a fun and unique museum experience in Nashville, head to Madame Tussauds. This world-renowned wax museum features lifelike figures of your favorite celebrities, from country stars to Hollywood actors. Visitors can take photos with their famous wax figures and learn about the artistry behind creating them.

Lane Motor Museum 

Car enthusiasts will love exploring Lane Motor Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of European cars in the United States. With over 150 unique vehicles on display, visitors can learn about the evolution of automobiles from the early 1900s to the present day. The museum also hosts special events and workshops for those interested in learning about these fascinating machines.

The Parthenon 

A replica of the famous ancient Greek temple, The Parthenon is a must-see for art and architecture lovers. Located in Centennial Park, this impressive structure also houses Nashville’s Art Museum, which features American art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or join a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this iconic landmark.

Cooter’s Nashville 

For fans of “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show, Cooter’s Nashville is a nostalgic must-visit. This museum features props, memorabilia from the popular show, and other classic cars and collectibles. Visitors can also grab a bite to eat at the Hazzard County-themed restaurant or shop for souvenirs at the General Lee’s garage gift shop.

Adventure Science Center 

Perfect for a family day out, the Adventure Science Center offers interactive and educational exhibits that make learning fun. From exploring outer space to learning about dinosaurs and technology, this museum has something for everyone. Visitors can also catch a show at the Sudekum Planetarium or watch live science demonstrations.

Historic Travellers Rest Historic House Museum 

History buffs will love a trip to this beautifully preserved antebellum home. Built in 1799, the Travellers Rest Historic House Museum offers guided tours through the mansion and grounds, showcasing what life was like for wealthy plantation owners in the early 19th century. Visitors can also explore exhibits featuring artifacts and documents from the period.

Tennessee Agricultural Museum

Located just minutes from downtown Nashville, the Tennessee Agricultural Museum showcases the state’s agricultural heritage spanning over two centuries. This museum takes you on a journey through time, highlighting the evolution of farming practices and equipment. From ancient tools and machinery to modern-day technology, visitors can learn about the role of agriculture in shaping Tennessee’s economy and culture. The museum also hosts various events throughout the year, including a traditional fall festival that attracts thousands of visitors.

Tennessee Central Railway Museum

Step back in time and experience the Golden Age of rail travel at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum. This living museum features restored trains, railroad artifacts, and interactive exhibits that give visitors a glimpse into the past. Ride on one of the vintage train cars and enjoy the scenic view of Nashville’s countryside. The museum also offers special events such as holiday-themed train rides and murder mystery excursions, making it an exciting destination for all ages.

Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

Sports fans, this one’s for you! The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame celebrates the achievements and contributions of the state’s most influential athletes and coaches. Visitors can relive iconic moments in sports history through interactive displays, memorabilia, and multimedia exhibits. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply curious about Tennessee’s sports legacy, this museum is a must-visit.

Military Branch of the Tennessee State Museum

At the Military Branch of the Tennessee State Museum, visitors can pay their respects to those who have served and sacrificed for their country. The museum displays artifacts, photos, and stories from various wars and conflicts that shaped America’s history. Visitors can also take self-guided tours or book a guided tour to learn about Tennessee’s role in the military throughout the years.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art

Nashville’s stunning botanical garden and art museum, Cheekwood, is a must-visit for nature lovers. The 55-acre estate features beautifully manicured gardens, an extensive art collection, and rotating exhibitions from local and international artists. Visitors can enjoy various events, including live music concerts, art classes, and seasonal festivals. Cheekwood is the perfect place to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature.

Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs

Calling all country music fans! The Willie Nelson and Friends Museum pays tribute to one of the genre’s most iconic figures. Located in the heart of Nashville’s Music Row, this museum showcases rare memorabilia, personal items, and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Willie Nelson’s life and career. Visitors can also shop for unique souvenirs at the museum store to remember their trip to Music City.

Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory

Perched atop a hill in west Nashville, the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory is a beautiful hidden gem that offers breathtaking city views. Visitors can tour the observatory and learn about astronomy, space exploration, and the facility’s history. The highlight of this museum is its historic telescope, which renowned astronomers have used to make groundbreaking discoveries.

The Gallery of Iconic Guitars

Nashville is known as Music City for a reason, and the Gallery of Iconic Guitars is a testament to that. Located on the campus of Belmont University, this museum displays a collection of rare and iconic guitars from some of music’s biggest names. Visitors can see instruments played by legends such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton up close and learn their significance in shaping Nashville’s music scene.

Amqui Station & Visitors Center

History buffs will love visiting Amqui Station & Visitors Center, a beautifully restored train station that serves as a museum and visitors center. The station played a significant role in World War II, serving as the departure point for thousands of soldiers headed to training camps. Today, tourists can explore the station and learn about its rich history through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Fisk University Galleries

Located on the campus of Fisk University, this museum showcases a collection of African-American art and history. Visitors can browse the galleries to see paintings, sculptures, textiles, and other works by prominent artists such as Aaron Douglas and Henry Ossawa Tanner. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and educational programs that promote African-American culture and heritage.

Jefferson Street Sound

Located in North Nashville, Jefferson Street Sound showcases the rich history of African-American music in Nashville. From blues to jazz to gospel, this museum celebrates the city’s diverse musical roots. It also features exhibits on legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Little Richard, who have influenced Nashville’s music scene.

Glen Campbell Museum

A tribute to one of Nashville’s most beloved musicians, the Glen Campbell Museum is a must-visit for any country music fan. Located in Downtown Nashville, this museum houses personal memorabilia, stage costumes, and even the iconic guitar used by Campbell. Visitors can also listen to his greatest hits while exploring the exhibits.

The George Jones

Another gem for country music lovers, The George Jones Museum honors the life and legacy of the legendary musician. Situated in the heart of Downtown Nashville, this museum features artifacts, personal belongings, and even a restaurant with live music performances. It’s a perfect spot to immerse yourself in the history of country music.


Nestled in the lush surroundings of a 55-acre estate, Cheekwood is not just a museum but also a botanical garden. It boasts extensive American and European art collections, including sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts. The stunning gardens also offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Fort Negley

For history buffs, Fort Negley is a must-visit museum in Nashville. Built during the Civil War, this fort was an important strategic location and played a crucial role in the Battle of Nashville. Today, visitors can explore the remains of this fort and learn about its significance through interactive exhibits.

Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center

Located in Hendersonville, just a short drive from Nashville, Monthaven Arts & Culture Center is a hidden gem for art lovers. This museum showcases local and international artists’ works, from paintings to sculptures to photography. It also hosts workshops and educational programs for all ages.

Historic Mansker’s Station

Step back in time at Historic Mansker’s Station, a living history museum that recreates life in the late 18th century. This fort-turned-museum offers guided tours, exhibits on early settlers’ daily lives, and demonstrations of traditional crafts. It’s a glimpse into Nashville before it became Music City.

Civil War Museum

Another museum for history enthusiasts, the Civil War Museum, is dedicated to preserving and educating visitors about the impact of the Civil War on Middle Tennessee. Located in Fort Negley Park, this museum features artifacts, interactive exhibits, and a collection of rare weapons used during the war.

Lotz House Museum

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Lotz House Museum is a Civil War-era home that offers a glimpse into the lives of those who lived through this tumultuous time. Visitors can explore the house, which still contains original furniture and artifacts, and learn about its role during the Battle of Franklin.

Cragfont State Historic Site

Built-in 1802, Cragfont is a magnificent architectural marvel that has withstood the test of time. This museum showcases the grandeur of the mansion and delves into its history and significance in Tennessee’s early settlement. Visitors can take guided tours and witness the stunning views from this historic site.

Stones River National Battlefield

Located just outside Nashville, Stones River National Battlefield is a must-visit for those interested in the Civil War. This site preserves and interprets the events and stories of the Battle of Stones River, one of the war’s deadliest battles. Visitors can take self-guided tours and explore the battlefields, monuments, and cemeteries.

Nashville’s museums offer a diverse range of experiences, from music and art to history and architecture. They are a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage and provide a deeper understanding of what makes Nashville so special.

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