Best museums in Nashville that are worth your time

Discover all about Nashville’s country music scene at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and its history at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage; the 14 best museums in Nashville have something for everyone.

Nashville is a city with plenty of history and culture, from its world–renowned country music scene, to its part in the Civil War. Learn more about stars like Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Taylor Swift at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and visit the home of America’s 7th President, Andrew Jackon’s Hermitage. There are some great art museums, too, like the Frist and the Centennial Art Center, and beautiful landmarks such as the Parthenon. Here are 15 of the best museums in Nashville.

Best history museums in Nashville

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1. Uncover the history of country music at the Country Music Hall of Fame

History museum

Nashville is the home of the country music industry, and the Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the most famous museums in the city, containing one of the world’s most extensive music collections. From stage costumes to hand–written lyrics, instruments to unique recordings, you’ll learn all about how this kind of music developed and became so popular.

Highlights:

Explore the Hall of Fame itself; there are currently 152 inductees, including Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley.

Address and opening hours:

222 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN, 37203. Open 9:00 AM-5:00 PM daily.

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2. Learn about America’s 7th President at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

History museum

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of America, and known as the “People’s President” as, unlike the previous six, he came from a humble background. His original home, named by Jackson as the Hermitage, has been restored to exactly how it looked in 1837. It now serves as a museum that details the lives of Jackson and his family, and what daily life was like in the South in the early 19th century.

Highlights:

The hermitage covers 1,120 acres of land and includes hiking trails, historical landmarks, and wildlife.

Address and opening hours:

4580 Rachels Ln., Hermitage, TN, 37076. Open 9:00 AM-6:00 PM daily.

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3. Explore the history of the Volunteer State at the Tennessee State Museum

History museum

The Tennessee State Museum features a large collection of exhibits exploring the history of the Tennessee area, from pre-European history through the Civil War to modern times. The 137,000 square foot building includes six rotating galleries, a digital learning center and a two–story Grand Hall. There are displays of art, furniture, and textiles produced by Tennesseans, and Civil War artifacts such as uniforms, weapons and battle flags.

Highlights:

Make sure to explore the museum’s Tennessee Time Tunnel featuring a variety of hands-on exhibits.

Address and opening hours:

1000 Rosa L Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN, 37208. Open 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00 PM-5:00 PM Sunday.

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4. Discover music history at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

History museum

While Nashville is mainly known for country music, it is also home to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, which highlights the stories and careers of musicians across different genres, including Garth Brooks, Jimi Hendrix, and Elton John. You’ll also learn more about the people behind the scenes, from session musicians to engineers and producers.

Highlights:

Located near the Bicentennial Capital Mall, this museum features an extensive collection of musical memorabilia. Visit it as part of a hop–on, hop–off trolley tour.

Address and opening hours:

401 Gay St., Nashville, TN, 37219. Open 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday-Saturday.

5. Learn about cultural influences at the National Museum of African American Music

History museum

The National Museum of African American Music is dedicated to the ways in which African American music has influenced popular culture over the decades, from early gospel and blues to hip-hop. The museum also features a collection of over 1,400 exhibits related to the influence of African-American music over the years.

Highlights:

NMAAM features clothes worn by influential musicians such as Whitney Houston and Nat King Cole. Learn more about African-American history and the Civil Rights movement on the Civil Rights Tour Of Nashville.

Address and opening hours:

510 Broadway, Nashville, TN, 37203. Open 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 PM-5:00 PM Sunday-Monday.

Best art museums in Nashville

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6. See a replica of the Greek Parthenon in Nashville

Art museum

Nashville was once known as the Athens of the South, and this full-scale replica of the Parthenon was built in 1897 to celebrate the city’s cultural heritage. Today, it serves as an art museum, and you can admire its collection of paintings and marble statues.

Highlights:

While entry to the museum requires an admission fee, you can still take in the beauty of the Parthenon’s architecture from Centenary Park. Take a private tour with a local singer-songwriter to catch some of the best views.

Address and opening hours:

2500 West End Ave., Nashville, TN, 37203. Open 9:00 AM-7:00 PM Monday-Thursday.

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7. Explore local and international artworks at the Frist Art Museum

Art museum

Located in a historic Art Deco-style former post office building, the Frist Art Museum features a constantly rotating selection of art exhibitions. Take some time to explore famous international paintings and sculptures, unique films, and a host of family-friendly activities.

Highlights:

The Frist Art Museum is located on Broadway, the cultural and entertainment heart of Nashville. Take a short 20-minute walk to join the Fully Narrated Half-Day City Tour and explore the rest of the area.

Address and opening hours:

919 Broadway, Nashville, TN, 37203. Open 10:00 AM-5:30 PM Friday-Saturday and Monday, 10:00 AM-8:00 PM Thursday, 1:00 PM-5:30 PM Sunday.

8. Discover Nashville’s finest urban art and murals

Art museum

While not technically a museum itself, Nashville’s collection of street art and wall-painted murals make the city an outdoor art gallery. These vibrant artworks can be found all over the city, so keep your eyes peeled during your visit, especially for iconic murals such as the “What Lifts You” angel wings.

Highlights:

A colorful street art tour will take you to various locations around Nashville, such as the Gulch, Downtown, and Marathon Village, to get some amazing shots of the city’s best street art.

Address:

Meeting Point: 833 9th Ave. S, Nashville, TN, 37203. Tour times vary.

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9. See the work of emerging artists at the Centennial Art Center

Art museum

While the Centennial Art Center might seem small compared to other nearby museums, it is one of the best free museums in the city. The museum features details about the history of Centennial Park, plus artworks created by local and regional artists.

Highlights:

In addition to rotating exhibitions, the Centennial Art Center also features regular painting and pottery workshops. Entry is free for all visitors.

Address:

301 25th Ave. N, Nashville, TN, 37203.

Alternative museums in Nashville

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10. Walk the line with the Man in Black at the Johnny Cash Museum

Alternative museum

Johnny Cash was a significant figure in country music throughout his life, and this museum, named in his honor, offers a comprehensive look at his legendary career. Explore the museum’s huge collection of Cash memorabilia and discover why his music was influential to so many.

Highlights:

The Johnny Cash Museum contains the largest collection of exhibits dedicated to the man’s life, including song lyrics and costumes. Invest in an access pass and get discounted entry.

Address and opening hours:

119 3rd Ave. S, Nashville, TN, 37201. Open 9:00 AM-7:00 PM daily.

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11. Relive the adventures of the Dukes at Cooter’s Place

Alternative museum

The Dukes of Hazzard was one of the most popular TV shows of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and this quirky museum is dedicated to the characters’ many escapades. Moving through Cooter’s Place, you’ll find photos, props, and costumes from the show, including the famous, bright orange General Lee. A must–see for all fans of the show.

Highlights:

This museum is run by the original Cooter himself, Ben Jones. Entry is free, although additional activities and photo ops require a fee.

Address and opening hours:

2613B McGavock Pk., Nashville, TN, 37214. Open 9:00 AM-7:00 PM daily.

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12. Discover athletes past and present at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

Alternative museum

Next to its massive music and entertainment industry, sport is a major pastime in Nashville. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, located within Bridgestone Arena, honors over 500 sports personalities, from athletes to coaches to sports journalists. If you’re a sports fan, this is one of the best museums in Nashville.

Highlights:

The museum features a range of interactive exhibits, including a 30-seat theater, and entry is free of charge.

Address and opening hours:

501 Broadway, Nashville, TN, 37203. From 10:00 AM-4:00 PM Tuesday-Saturday.

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13. Celebrate the famous songstress at the Patsy Cline Museum

Alternative museum

Although her life was cut short at the tender age of 30, Patsy Cline left a significant mark on the music industry. The Patsy Cline Museum features a huge collection of artifacts from the life and times of the legendary singer and is a must-see for fans of her music.

Highlights:

The museum focuses on her humble rural beginnings to her rise to fame. This museum is an excellent choice when paired with the Music City Snapshot Segway Tour, only a 12-minute walk away.

Address and opening hours:

119 3rd Ave. S, Nashville, TN, 37201. Open 9:00 AM-7:00 PM daily.

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14. Uncover the life of the Rhinestone Cowboy at the Glen Campbell Museum

Alternative museum

With a career that spanned six decades, Glen Campbell’s music embodies the soul of Nashville perhaps more than any other artist. The Glen Campbell museum serves as a tribute to the popular entertainer, with exhibits from his earliest years through to the peak of his career.

Highlights:

The museum includes never before seen memorabilia from Campbell’s private collection. If you want a combined experience, the museum is not far from the start of a Downtown segway tour.

Address and opening hours:

111 Broadway Suite 200, Nashville, TN, 37201. Open 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Tuesday-Sunday.

FAQs

What are the must-visit museums in Nashville?

The Country Music Hall of Fame is the museum everyone should visit in Nashville. Other great choices include the Tennessee State Museum, the Parthenon, and the National Museum of African American Music.

Are there any free museums in Nashville?

Yes. Some of the best free museums in the city include the Tennessee State Museum, the Centennial Art Center, and Cooter’s Place.

Are there any museums in Nashville that are suitable for children and families?

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Adventure Science Center are perhaps some of the most kid-friendly museums in Nashville. There is also the Cheekwood Estate for those planning a day trip from Central Nashville.

For which museums in Nashville are guided tours recommended?

You can find guided tours for several museums in Nashville. Some of the best options are the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame.

Are there any museum passes or discount cards available for visiting multiple museums in Nashville?

The Nashville Explorer Pass will get you discounted rates on over 10 attractions in Nashville. Choose from three pass types: the Fun Pass, Music Pass, and Circle Pass.