The National Museum of African American Music explores the rich history of black music, touching on more than 50 genres and styles, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip-hop. Featuring six interactive galleries equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the museum’s mission is to educate and transform the appreciation of African American music history and culture.
When you permanently set your dial to the country station on your radio, you know you’re a fan of that special brand of music. Your closet is full of boots and hats, your mind is filled with lyrics aplenty and you wait with baited breath for Tim and Faith’s new tour dates to arrive. If your heart gets happy when the likes of Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton or Luke Bryan pop through your speakers, you’re in need of a visit to Nashville. This capital city of Tennessee is home to country music, its legends and the place to which country artists hitch their wagon and their star. When you get there, you’ll know it’s for you and there’s a good chance you’ll never want to leave.
The Patsy Cline Museum chronicles the life and career of the country music legend known for famous hits like “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces.” Unique among Nashville museums, it celebrates the singer who tragically died at the age of 30. The 4,000-square-foot gallery features interactive exhibits displaying hundreds of artifacts, personal belongings and rare video clips. Visitors to the Patsy Cline Museum will enjoy viewing awards, costumes, furniture and other memorabilia. It contains the largest collection of items related to the entertainer. Located above the Johnny Cash Museum, the attraction should be included on your list of must-see Nashville museums.
Madame Tussauds Nashville is a wax attraction that offers guests the unique opportunity to interact with incredibly lifelike iconic figures from the celebrity world of music. With a completely different concept, the attraction in Nashville is the company’s first offering in the US that focuses solely on music icons that have shaped America’s musical landscape.
Nashville is chock full of attractions and points of interest and to those who live and work there, it’s an easy city to navigate. But if you’re planning a Nashville vacation, it’s a smart idea to be aware of the various transportation options—if you’re considering renting a car, keep in mind that parking can be difficult and expensive. Here’s a look at the best ways to get around Music City.
The Tennessee State Museum explores the state’s rich history through exhibits and programming, from its developing landscapes and first peoples to present day, in an expansive new space. Encompassing 137,000 sq ft., the museum features a comprehensive, interactive gallery with six permanent exhibits and supplemental temporary exhibits. The museum was previously located on the lower level of the War Memorial Building before moving into the James K. Polk Theater in 1981 where it remained for 35 years. The Museum opened to the public in its new home on the northwest corner of Bicentennial Mall in October 2018.
The Art Deco-style Frist Art Museum displays works by local, state and regional artists along with national and international exhibits. The center is housed in the former post office that was completed in 1934 as part of the Public Works Administration. Architectural details, including fluted pilasters and stone eagles, blend classical elements with national symbols to create a style known as Grecian Moderne. Listed on the National Register, the marble building was repurposed as the Frist Art Museum in 2001. Encompassing 24,000 square feet of gallery space, the non-collecting museum exhibits traveling collections from around the world.
Located on the campus of Belmont University, the house museum is a historic Italianate villa-style mansion constructed in the mid-1800s by Adelicia Hayes Franklin. It is the work of architect William Strickland, who also designed the Tennessee State Capitol. The residence served as the headquarters for Union General Thomas Wood before the Battle of Nashville in 1864. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the mansion is the largest house museum in the Volunteer State. The ornate home features a collection of Venetian glass, period furnishings, paintings and statuary as well as elaborately landscaped gardens.
The Musicians Hall of Fame at Historic Nashville Auditorium honors the artists and session musicians who have accompanied legendary performers in a broad range of musical genres, including country, rock, jazz and soul. Honorees include groups like the A-Team, Booker T and the MGs, the Memphis Boys and Toto. These versatile performers provided background music during recording sessions for numerous hit records. The museum’s galleries and artifacts commemorate these talented musicians along with the unique sounds emanating from cities like Nashville, Detroit, Muscle Shoals, Memphis and Los Angeles.
Honoring the life and memory of the “Man in Black,” the Johnny Cash Museum features a wide collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to the career of this legendary performer. The exhibits highlight various periods in his life, such as his stint in the Air Force and marriage to June Carter. The collection includes Cash’s costumes, handwritten letters and other personal mementos.
Located near the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame honors legendary performers, songwriters and others who made a significant contribution to country music. Forming a bass clef when viewed from the air, the unique building is an iconic feature of the Nashville skyline. The Hall of Fame, surrounded by honky-tonks and other live entertainment venues where many of the honorees got their start, features a rotunda that chronicles the history of recording technology.