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Tennessee State Museum

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.


Guide to Exploring Tennessee State Museum


Top Tennessee State Museum Hotel Deals

See all 3,318 Properties near Tennessee State Museum
Margaritaville Hotel Nashville HK$652
Margaritaville Hotel Nashville

Margaritaville Hotel Nashville

425 5th Avenue South, Nashville, TN
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Nashville, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Music City Center, Nashville Broadway, and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Bridgestone Arena and Ryman Auditorium are also within 10 minutes. Nashville Riverfront Station is 12 minutes by foot.

    Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown HK$1,000
    Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown

    Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown

       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is steps away from War Memorial Auditorium and Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Nashville Broadway and Tennessee State Capitol are also within 5 minutes. Nashville Riverfront Station is 14 minutes by foot.

      Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Downtown/Convention Center HK$718
      Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Downtown/Convention Center

      Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Downtown/Convention Center

         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Nashville Broadway, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Ascend Amphitheater. Johnny Cash Museum and Music City Center are also within 10 minutes. Nashville Riverfront Station is 8 minutes by foot.

        Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown HK$800
        Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown

        Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown

           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is steps away from Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville Broadway and Ascend Amphitheater. Johnny Cash Museum and Bridgestone Arena are also within 10 minutes. Nashville Riverfront Station is only a 5-minute walk.

          Holiday Inn and Suites Nashville Dtwn - Conv Ctr HK$752
          Holiday Inn and Suites Nashville Dtwn - Conv Ctr

          Holiday Inn and Suites Nashville Dtwn - Conv Ctr

             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Music City Center and Johnny Cash Museum. Bridgestone Arena and Nissan Stadium are also within 1 mi (2 km). Nashville Riverfront Station is 10 minutes by foot.

            Drury Plaza Hotel Nashville Downtown HK$697
            Drury Plaza Hotel Nashville Downtown

            Drury Plaza Hotel Nashville Downtown

               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Nashville Broadway, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Ascend Amphitheater. Johnny Cash Museum and Music City Center are also within 10 minutes. Nashville Riverfront Station is 7 minutes by foot.

              Holiday Inn Express Nashville Downtown Conf Ctr HK$593
              Holiday Inn Express Nashville Downtown Conf Ctr

              Holiday Inn Express Nashville Downtown Conf Ctr

                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nashville Broadway, Bridgestone Arena and Ryman Auditorium. Music City Center and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are also within 15 minutes. Nashville Riverfront Station is 12 minutes by foot.

                DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown HK$1,155
                DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown

                DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown

                315 4th Avenue N, Nashville, TN
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Nashville, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Ryman Auditorium and Riverfront Park. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Bridgestone Arena are also within 15 minutes. Nashville Riverfront Station is 10 minutes by foot.