Gardens, Art, Metal and More: Memphis Museums

January, 2017

Metal Museum | 901-774-6380
Known for one of the most picturesque views of the Mississippi River, the Metal Museum gives craftsmen and casual observers alike the opportunity to have a magical experience along thebanks of the mighty Mississippi. With a working blacksmith shop, more than 3,000 pieces of decorative metalwork, and library in a renovated 1877 hospital with the largest collection of metal working slides, books and portfolios in the country, and it’s safe to say this is anything but your typical museum. Take in a blacksmithing class, see contemporary and historic metal work, or just enjoy a sunset (and if your timing is right, a wedding) at one of the hottest spots in town.

• Suggested Tour Time: 1 hour




Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art | 901-523-2787
Just when you thought Downtown Memphis had run out of surprises, you come across a treasure trove of Asian and European art and artifacts. The museum houses more than 600 works created for Chinese nobility during the Quink (Ch’ing) Dynasty, including jade sculptures, ivory carvings and bronze ceremonial vessels.

• Suggested Tour Time: 1 hour


Memphis Brooks Museum of Art | 901-544-6200
A registered National Landmark, the Brooks Museum features an impressive permanent collection of items ranging from the ancient to the modern. Highly regarded for its medieval and Renaissance work, the Brooks often showcases world–class exhibitions from around the globe. 

• Suggested tour time: 1–2 hours
photo by Andrea Zucker

Memphis Pink Palace Museum, Planetarium and IMAX Theater | 901-320-6320
The 36,500-square-foot home of Memphian Clarence Saunders—father of the self-service grocery and founder of supermarket chain Piggly Wiggly—is now home to a wide-ranging collection of fascinating historic, scientific and technological attractions. Through the years the museum has expanded into one of the Southeast’s largest. It now includes a planetarium and IMAX theater and is a regular stop for traveling exhibitions.

• Advanced reservations required for groups
• Suggested Tour Time: Museum—1 ½ hours; IMAX—2 hours; Planetarium—1 ½ hours

Art Museum at the University of Memphis | 901-678-2224
Offers changing exhibitions of contemporary art and permanent displays of Egyptian antiquities.

• Suggested Tour Time: 1 hour

Memphis Botanic Garden | 901-576-4100 
With a Japanese garden of tranquility, 100,000 daffodils and two new exhibits each month, the Botanic Gardens are the very definition of serene. Except during the summer concert series, “Live at the Garden,” when acts like ZZ Top, REO Speedwagon, Gregg Allman, Billy Currington, Chicago and Sheryl Crow take the stage. And if you’re visiting in the fall, be sure to check out the permanent collections and special exhibits they have throughout the year. There's even a special garden for the children, My Big Back Yard, full of tree houses, slides and more. 

• Suggested tour time: 1–2 hours

Photo by Andrea Zucker

Dixon Gallery & Gardens | 901-761-5250
Break away from the hustle of city life and enjoy a relaxing stroll through the 17-acre English wood at Dixon Gardens. The Dixon Gallery—former home of cotton tycoon Hugo Dixon—boasts a vast collection (some 2,000 paintings) of French and American impressionist and post-impressionist works. Artists who have donned the walls of the Dixon include names like Degot and Rodin. Visitors should call ahead to see what’s on tap. Annual events that are a must include the pottery show and sale, wildflower plant sale and one of Memphis’ largest Easter egg hunts.

• Guides available with advance reservations
• Suggested Tour Time: 2 hours

Other options:

While these may not be museums per say, you'll want to add them to your Memphis Itinerary: 

Lauderdale Courts

Though Lauderdale Courts began life in 1938 as one of America’s first public housing projects, the Uptown Square location is known not so much for its history as for its most famous resident. From 1949 to 1953, Gladys, Vernon and their teenage son Elvis called Apartment #328 home. Now restored to reflect the Presley family’s simple life and times, The Elvis Suite is officially the only place in town where visitors can sleep exactly where the King did.
• Tour Length: 15 minutes
• Guides available

Biblical Resource Center and Museum | 901-854-9578
Located in Historic Collierville, this museum features artifacts and replicas of the Bible, a hands-on exhibit, a Bible lab, library and museum shop. 
• Video presentation included with group tours 
• Adjacent to specialty shops and restaurants

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/ALSAC Pavilion | 901-495-4414  
Located on the campus of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the country’s largest health-care charities, this museum contains memorabilia of the late entertainer and founder of St. Jude, including Emmy Awards and numerous humanitarian achievements.  
• Free Admission
• Tour Length: 30–45 minutes