Tennessee State Museum

Vacation Travel Guide
Tennessee State Museum showing interior views and military items

From mastodon bones to dugout canoes, cotton gins to 12-string guitars, it’s easy to follow the trail of Tennessee history at this museum.

The Tennessee State Museum has a strong focus on the history of the South and holds one of the largest Civil War Collections in the USA. Its permanent exhibits cover more than 60,000 square feet (5,574 square meters) with an additional 10,000 square feet (929 square meters) devoted to ever-changing showcases. Set aside half a day to fully explore its many treasures.

The museum’s permanent exhibits are arranged in chronological order, making navigation easy. Start your visit by investigating the First Tennesseans exhibit. Here you’ll see relics from prehistoric and ancient Indian cultures, such as a shaman’s medicine tube.

Next, move to the Frontier section, which traces the often-bloody footsteps of the Spanish conquistadors, the English and French explorers, and the early European settlers. Step inside a log cabin and admire a covered Conestoga wagon, just two of the many full-scale replicas within the museum.

Learn about the state’s development in The Age of Jackson, dedicated to the life and times of the Southern general and plantation owner who became the seventh president of the United States. Then move on to the Antebellum section to admire the crafts, artworks and finery of a prosperous pre-Civil War Tennessee.

Look for the revolver once owned by Nathan Bedford Forrest, the infamous Confederate soldier turned Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, in the extensive Civil War and Reconstruction section.

Follow the stories of women's suffrage and Prohibition in the final permanent display, The New South. This section also contains many fine examples of crafts from the late 1800s and early 1900s, including a renowned collection of Tennessee pottery.

The museum resides on the bottom three floors of the James K. Polk Center near the State Capitol in downtown Nashville. It’s open Tuesday to Saturday, with the exception of major holidays. Paid parking is available in the adjacent parking garages, or on the street. The free Music City Circulator bus stops at the museum.

Top Hotels Close to Tennessee State Museum

Knights Inn Nashville
Knights Inn Nashville
1.5 out of 5
99 Spring St, Nashville, TN
The price is $63 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Located in Downtown Nashville, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of First Horizon Park, Nissan Stadium, and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Nashville Broadway ...
3.5/5 Good! (2,226 reviews)
"Was just about what I expected for the price. Reasonably clean and safe. Disappointed about no breakfast, but I guess COVID still rules. Limited food nearby, but Germantown just across bridge has plenty. Bus stop is close by, which is great. Overall, for the price, that close to Nashville, great ..."

Reviewed on Oct 20, 2021

Knights Inn Nashville
Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown
Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown
4 out of 5
623 Union St, Nashville, TN
The price is $159 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is steps from National Museum of African American Music, War Memorial Auditorium, and Nashville Public Library. Nashville ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (1,039 reviews)
"Very nice hotel."

Reviewed on Oct 20, 2021

Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown
DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
4 out of 5
315 4th Avenue N, Nashville, TN
The price is $135 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, and Riverfront Park. Country Music Hall of Fame ...
4/5 Very Good! (923 reviews)
"Room was clean and had everything we needed. Easy walk to Broadway and Nissan stadium."

Reviewed on Oct 19, 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Tennessee State Museum

Knights Inn Nashville
Knights Inn Nashville
1.5 out of 5
99 Spring St, Nashville, TN
The price is $63 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Knights Inn Nashville
Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown
Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown
4 out of 5
623 Union St, Nashville, TN
The price is $159 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown
DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
4 out of 5
315 4th Avenue N, Nashville, TN
The price is $135 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown
Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown
3 out of 5
301 3rd Ave S, Nashville, TN
The price is $159 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown
Omni Nashville Hotel
Omni Nashville Hotel
4 out of 5
250 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN
The price is $206 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Omni Nashville Hotel
Dream Nashville
Dream Nashville
4 out of 5
210 4th Avenue North, Nashville, TN
The price is $275 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Dream Nashville
Renaissance Nashville Hotel
Renaissance Nashville Hotel
4 out of 5
611 Commerce St, Nashville, TN
The price is $159 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Renaissance Nashville Hotel
Margaritaville Hotel Nashville
Margaritaville Hotel Nashville
4.5 out of 5
425 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN
The price is $179 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Margaritaville Hotel Nashville
Cambria Hotel Nashville Downtown
Cambria Hotel Nashville Downtown
4 out of 5
118 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN
The price is $166 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Cambria Hotel Nashville Downtown
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.