The Convention and Visitors Bureau is the overriding agency for Nashville-area historic sites, museums and visitor/tourist information. The following is a list of key museums and sites to seek out while in Nashville, but for more information, contact the Bureau at (615) 259-4700 or visit them on the Web at www.nashvillecvb.com.
BELLE MEADE PLANTATION
5025 Harding Rd. 356-0501
The 1853-built Greek Revival mansion was once part of a 5,000-acre thoroughbred horse plantation. (When touring the house, note that there are horse portraits rather than those of ancestors in the great foyer.) On the 30 remaining acres, visitors may enjoy the carriage house, stables, outbuildings, restaurant and a charming gift shop. Belle Meade Plantation hosts clever historical-themed exhibits at various times of the year. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 11a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. $10 adults, $8.50 sr. citizens, $4 ages 6-12, ages 5 & under admitted free.
1900 Belmont Blvd. 460-5459
It’s hard to imagine the area near Music Row as an ideal spot to build a vacation home. Back in 1850, however, the area was decidedly different when the very wealthy Adelicia Acklen and her husband Joseph began building their summer home. Today the home, which was built in the style of an Italian villa, is part of Belmont University and features original and period Victorian furniture and artwork. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Sat. $7 adults, $6 sr. citizens, $3 ages 6-12, ages 5 & under admitted free. Extended hours in the summer.
1345 Carnton Ln., Franklin 794-0903
A national historic landmark feat. Randal McGavock’s mansion, used as a field hospital during the Battle of Franklin; a Confederate cemetery; and an 1847-styled garden. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 1-5 p.m. Sun. $8 adults, $7 sr. citizens, $3 ages 6-12.
THE CARTER HOUSE
1140 Columbia Ave., Franklin 791-1861
An interpretive center for the 1864 Battle of Franklin feat. the 1830s home of Capt. Tod Carter, who was mortally wounded during the battle; the battlefield w/battle-damaged structures; and a museum, film and tour. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 1-5 p.m. Sun. $7 adults, $5 sr. citizens, $3 ages 6-12.
CHEEKWOOD BOTANICAL GARDEN AND MUSEUM OF ART
1200 Forrest Park Dr. 356-8000
The 55-acre site includes an art museum, botanical gardens, a restaurant, a gift shop, and Botanic Hall. The Woodland Sculpture Trail is a unique experience because it really is a trail through the woods (and offers a decent workout). Hours (Cheekwood is closed Jan. 1-11 and Mondays): 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat.; 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sun. Gate fee: $10 adults, $8 sr. citizens & students w/college IDs, $5 ages 6-17, Cheekwood members free. Gate fee is half-price everyday after 3 p.m. Family cap at $25.
DISCOVERY HOUSE AT MURFREE SPRING
503 N. Maple St., Murfreesboro 890-2300
502 SE Broad Street (as of March/April 2002)
A “hands-on” museum for children of all ages featuring changing exhibits and activities, including a biological “wetlands” area. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. $5 adults, $4 children, free for “under twos.”
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME and MUSEUM
222 5th Avenue S. 416-2096
Even if you couldn’t care less about country music, this museum is still a fascinating place. The museum features manuscripts, instruments, personal items of stars and more. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. $14.95 adults, $7.95 ages 6-11, ages 5 & under free.
CUMBERLAND SCIENCE MUSEUM
800 Fort Negley Blvd. 862-5160
One of the coolest things about CSM is the building itself, especially when seen from a distance at night. But don’t admire the museum from afarget up close and explore the world through science. In addition to permanent displays and planetarium shows, CSM hosts traveling exhibits, family festivals, summer camps and an annual Fourth of July event. (The view of the fireworks from the lawn is spectacular.) Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. & 12:30-5:30 p.m. Sun. $7.95 adults, $5.95 sr. citizens/children ages 3-12, free for children under 2; planetarium admission $1.55 extra.
SAM DAVIS HOME
1399 Sam Davis Rd., Smyrna (615) 459-2341
A visit to the Greek Revival home on its 169-acre site will reveal the details of how young Sam Davis died refusing to betray the Confederacy. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 1-4 p.m. Sun. Admission: $5 adults, $4 sr. citizens, $2.50 ages 6-12.
GRAND OLE OPRY MUSEUM
Displays on Opry stars of the past and present, including Patsy Cline, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, Jim Reeves and Tex Ritter. The museum is located in the Opry Plaza. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.-Thurs.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m-10 p.m. Sat.
HARTZLER-TOWNER MULTICULTURAL MUSEUM Scarritt-Bennett Center, 1008 19th Ave. S. 340-7481
Permanent display features cultural artifacts from around the world, including porcelain, textiles, religious figures, musical instruments and almost 700 dolls. Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.; 1-6 p.m. Sun. Free.
4580 Rachel’s Ln., Hermitage 889-2941
Tours of Andrew Jackson’s plantation and 1836-completed mansion include a biographical film and tours of the Old Hermitage Church and Tulip Grove mansion. As with similar museums, efforts are made to realize the crucial role slavery played in making this lifestyle possible. Continuing archaeological work on the grounds offers opportunities for exploring the world of unearthing the past. Museum hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. (The Hermitage is closed the third week in January.) $10 adults, $9 sr. citizens, $5 ages 6-12; free for ages 5 & under.
HISTORIC MANSKERS STATION
705 Caldwell Drive, Goodlettsville 859-3678
A living-history museum depicting life as it was for settlers in 1779 Middle Tennessee. The site features the 1787-completed Bowen Plantation House. Manskers Station hosts living-history festivals throughout the year. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 1-5 p.m. Sun. $5 adults, $3 students. Group rates and senior discounts.
109 Monthaven Blvd., Hendersonville 822-0789
A circa-1860 Greek Revival house now home to the Hendersonville Arts Council Center and featuring changing art exhibits and handmade crafts. Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
MUSEUM OF BEVERAGE CONTAINERS AND ADVERTISING
1055 Ridgecrest Dr., Goodlettsville 859-5236 x218
The world’s largest combined soda and beer can, bottle, and beverage advertising collection. Hours: Mon.- Fri. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; $4 adults, children 12 & under admitted free.
NASHVILLE ZOO AT GRASSMERE
3777 Nolensville Rd. 833-1534
The grounds feature animal exhibits along a .8-mile scenic trail, a 66,000-foot Jungle Gym, a historic home and working farm depicting 1880s life, the pre-Civil War Croft House and “Unseen New World,” featuring amphibians, reptiles, insects and more. Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, Nov.-Mar.; 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily Apr.-Oct. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. $6 adults, $4 sr. citizens/children ages 3-12, children 2 & younger admitted free. $2 parking.
Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave. 862-8431
Built as part of Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, the full-scale replica of the ancient Greek temple contains a 40-foot replica of the Athena statue and changing art exhibits. Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat. $3.50 adults, $2 sr. citizens & ages 4-17, children 3 & younger admitted free.
THE RENAISSANCE CENTER
855 Hwy. 46 S., Dickson 740-5600
Tour the solar system when you visit the CyberSphere Digital Theatre. You can view an exact replica of the starry night sky or one of many laser shows and interact with the program using a small keypad on the armrest of your chair.
Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. $5 adults, $3 children 12 and younger. All laser show tickets are $6.
116 5th Ave. N. 889-3060
Completed in 1892, home to the Union Gospel Tabernacle, and from 1943 to 1974, home to the Grand Ole Opry. The exhibits at the Ryman are worth seeing; to really feel its majesty, however, simply stand in a pew in the center of the auditorium and look up (or better yet, catch a performance). A National Historic Landmark, The Ryman is known by its famous red brick facade, but don’t neglect the sitting area and statue of Thomas Ryman in the back. Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. $8 adults, $4 ages 4-11.
SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SHOWCASE
1907 Division St. 321-0639
A Confederate gallery feat. original documents, signed letters, autographs and contemporary art prints. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
STONES RIVER NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD
3501 Old Nashville Hwy., Murfreesboro 893-9501
The 600-acre site includes a Civil War battlefield along the Stones River, a museum, the Stones River National Cemetery and the Hazen Brigade Monument, and offers numerous lectures and living-history programs throughout the year. Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
TENNESSEE AGRICULTURAL MUSEUM Ellington Agricultural Center 837-5197
The museum features exhibits exploring the state’s rural history, including kitchen and dairy items, wagons, machinery, heirloom vegetables and more. The site also includes log cabins, a turn-of-the-century farmhouse, a one-room school and a wooded trail. Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; closed state holidays.
TENNESSEE BICENTENNIAL CAPITOL MALL STATE PARK
James Robertson Pkwy. & Jefferson St. 741-5800
A 19-acre park and outdoor history museum featuring an amphitheater, a 200-ft. granite map depicting every city in the state, 31 fountains representing each of Tennessee’s rivers, a botanical garden, a 1,400-ft. wall engraved with Tennessee’s historic events and a WWII memorial. Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Free.
TENNESSEE FOX TROT CAROUSEL
Riverfront Park 259-4747
A carousel featuring 36 figures based on Red Grooms’ sculptures of famous Tennesseans.
TENNESSEE STATE MUSEUM
505 Deaderick St. 741-2692
Permanent collection includes paintings, quilts and displays on the history of Tennessee from the prehistoric era through the early 20th century. The museum also hosts temporary and traveling exhibitions on everything from George Washington to French Impressionism, the American West and Soviet art. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Sat.; 1-4 p.m. Sun. Free.
TRAVELLERS REST MUSEUM
636 Farrell Pkwy. 832-8197
The museum features Tennessee-made furniture, formal gardens and historical items relating to Native American and slave cultures. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Sat.; 1-4 p.m. Sun. Last tour starts at 4 p.m. $8 adults, $7 sr. citizens, $3 ages 6-12.
THE UPPER ROOM CHAPEL AND MUSEUM
1908 Grand Ave. 340-7207
A wood carving based on Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” religious paintings from the 1300s to 1900s, illuminated manuscripts, a 9,000-piece stained-glass window and other religious-themed objects. A 15-minute presentation on the carving is given on the hour and half-hour, last presentation 4 p.m. Worship services held 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; closed major holidays. Free, $2 donation appreciated.