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Best Museums in Nashville

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The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is a wonderful place for art lovers. The center educates visitors on art and hopes it will bring about an interest in the community on the subject. The architecture is beautiful and the interiors and decor lend the space a very upscale elite ambiance and it frequently hosts art exhibitions. At the Frist Center, there is also a fabulous gift shop, where one can purchase memorabilia and other items and an excellent cafe where one can savor some delightful dishes and sip on coffee. Admission is free for students who are 18 and below.

Patsy Cline Museum is a museum exhibiting the work of the legendary Nashville country music artist, Patsy Cline. Born with the name Virginia Patterson Hensley, Patsy significantly contributed to the Nashville sound genre of music. The genre evolved out of the honky-tonk country music around the 1950s era. The legendary artist sadly passed away too young and left a gaping hole in the world of music. The museum is located in the Johnny Cash Museum building in Nashville. Visit the museum to get a glimpse into the life of the artist through the exhibits of her guitar, records and several personal belongings, apart from videos showcasing old recordings of the artist.

Located in the famous Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum is dedicated to music, of all genres. The museum through its massive space has on display, many original music instruments played by artists and memorabilia. The exhibits showcase the work of not just renowned artists but also honors the lesser-known performing artists from the different genres of music. You will get insights and facts about many instrumental and background artists who contributed significantly to some celebrated master pieces. The museum also houses an interactive display gallery, Grammy Museum Gallery which gives visitors a chance to witness and try out the creative process of recording music.

Tennessee State Museum situated in the Rosa L. Parks Boulevard opened its doors to the public in October 2018. Before moving to the new building, this museum was housed in James K. Polk Center situated on the busy Deaderick Street since 1981. The various permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Tennessee State Museum is aimed at preserving and exhibiting objects relating to the political, cultural, social and economical history of the state. Natural History, Tennessee Time Tunnel, First Peoples, Change and Challenge, Tennessee Transforms and The Civil War and Reconstruction are some of the popular permanent exhibitions at the Tennessee State Museum.

Established in 2002, the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville began with the donation of 70 vehicles from avid car enthusiast, Jeff Lane. Since its inception, the LMM has come to acquire over 300 unique and rare automobiles to the delight of visitors. Housed in the former Sunbeam Bakery, this large, 40,000 foot warehouse perfectly showcases one-of-a-kind vehicles like a 1975 Maserati Bora which can go 0-60mph within six and a half seconds and tops out at 165mph. The indoor kid's play area is a great distraction for the little ones while parents enjoy looking around.

Having the largest and most comprehensive collection of memorabilia and artifacts from the late legend, the Johnny Cash Museum is a true gem of the downtown Nashville area. The legendary country superstar and entertainer's life can be seen through the many photos, handwritten song lyrics, costumes, awards and musical instruments lovingly displayed throughout the building's raw brick and motor space. Catch his booming voice as he croons out "Folsom Prison Blues" in one of the many interactive displays. Whether you're a country music fan or not, a visit to this museum will leave you with a newfound respect for one of the music industry's greatest legends.

It is fitting that the "Athens of the South" is home to the world's only full-size replica of the ancient Parthenon. Forty-six Doric columns encircle the building. The largest bronze doors in the world, weighing 7.5 tons each, stand at the East and West entrances. Featured is Athena Parthenos, the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world. Sculptures and friezes are modeled from Elgin Marbles at the British Museum in London. There are also four art galleries. While the prices are reasonable, you can avail discounts for groups of ten or more with a reservation.

Loved by locals and tourists alike, this 1853 mansion was once the centerpiece of a 5,400-acre (2,185 hectares), 19th-century thoroughbred farm and nursery that back then sheltered president Andrew Jackson's thoroughbred. Awash in a stately Greek Revival style, the plantation boasts a dramatically-picturesque landscape that is dotted by many plantation remnants like a stable, the Hardings Cabin and the restored slaves quarters. Still referred to as the “Queen of Tennessee Plantations,” the present 30-acre (12-hectares) environs includes many of the original outbuildings and an antique carriage collection. The plantation has also played host to many famous guests including Presidents Grover Cleveland and General Sherman. Lending insights into the indelible plantation legacy left behind by John Harding, the Belle Meade Plantation is deeply entrenched in a long-standing lineage which has been an important part of the cultural history of America.

Less than ten minutes south of the busy downtown district is a poignant reminder of life as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries. Farming was a way of life for early settlers in middle Tennessee, and Tennessee Agricultural Museum features a host of artifacts and farming implements. The renovated horse barn contains over 2,500 items on display, tracing the history of pioneer families. Special activities for children make this a true hands-on educational experience. Butter churning, corn shelling, quilting and story telling bring youngsters into the action and provide hours of fun and learning for all ages.

Housed inside Cheekwood, the Cheekwood's Museum of Art is a 30,000-square foot (2,787-square meter) room, which is dedicated to American and British contemporary art. The building is built in a Gregorian-styled mansion with a large collection of paintings by American and British artists. The collections also include silver and one of the most noteworthy collections of Worcester porcelain in America. Cheekwood's Museum of Art has also been selected to house the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collections. A number of exhibitions take place here on a regular basis.

The thrill of scientific discovery awaits you! Come explore over 150 interactive exhibits and programs for children and adults. View the heavens from the 40-foot Sudekum Planetarium. Climb seven interactive levels to the top of the Adventure Tower, and experience BodyQuest, an exciting tour through the human body. Special programs are offered for high school students on weekend nights.

Discover the stories behind the music as you view over 3,000 stage costumes, original song manuscripts and musical instruments at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Many of the personal items of music legends are on display including Elvis' solid gold Cadillac. Tour packages include a visit to the historic RCA Studio B and the Music Row walking tour. Allow at least two hours for exhibits and the tour.

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