Memphis is More Than You Think: Memorable Museums

Barbecue? Check. Elvis? Of course. Soul music? You got it. But if you think that’s all Memphis has to offer, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Dixon Gallery & Gardens. Photo Credit: Baxter Buck

Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a fine art museum and public gardens in Memphis, TN. Photo by Baxter Buck.

brooks baxter

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Lorraine Motel Memphis

National Civil Rights Museum sign at the Lorraine Motel

Pink Palace with lilies. Photo Credit: Commercial Appeal.

Memphis Pink Palace - yellow flowers

Fire Museum of Memphis: MCVB

Fire Museum of Memphis. Photo by Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Face to face with TRex at Pink Palace

Face to Face with a T-Rex at the Pink Palace Museum. Photo by Bob Hazlett

Belz Museum horses

Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art Jade Horses

The Bluff City may not be the first place that comes to mind when you imagine a city brimming with delicious cuisine, sporting events and cultural attractions, but it should be. You can find all the culture you seek right here in Memphis by visiting one or more of our unusual museums.

Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art

Since beginning to collect art in 1969, the Belz family has amassed a large array of artifacts from all over the world. In 1995 they decided to display their collection so it could be enjoyed by the public. The art was initially part of a temporary exhibit at the Pink Palace Museum, and in 1998 a permanent location was established on Main Street in Downtown Memphis. The museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of Chinese art in the southeastern United States and contains pieces dating all the way back to 202 B.C. The Collection of Judaica features works from contemporary Israeli artists, including 32 bronze sculptures that illustrate the entire Bible.

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is the grand dame of Memphis museums. It’s the oldest and one of the largest in the entire state, totaling 86,000 square feet, and will be celebrating it's 100 year anniversary this year! It’s partly housed in a registered U.S. National Landmark Beaux-arts building, which holds a great deal of the museum’s collection, including everything from modern multi-media pieces to priceless antiquities. But the Brooks experience also includes the much-loved store (where you can find unique, cool gifts), the Brushmark Restaurant, the Holly Court garden, and a terrace with one of the best views of Memphis’ lush Overton Park.

Dixon Gallery & Gardens

With a permanent collection of over 2,000 objects, it would be easy to think of the Dixon as just a gallery or museum. And it is that, but it’s so much more. The Dixon’s mission isn’t just to expose the public to impressionist paintings and antique porcelain, but to also connect people to the beauty of nature and, specifically, gardening. Located in the heart of Memphis near Audubon Park (naturally), the Dixon’s Georgian-style residence and 17 acres give visitors an opportunity to see one of the best arboretums in the country.

Fire Museum of Memphis

The Fire Museum is the perfect stop if you’ve got a tiny tyke in tow. This downtown attraction is tailor-made for small children and is dedicated to promoting fire safety, education and honoring the history of firefighting in Memphis. This renovated fire engine house contains interactive exhibits, a screening room, and visitors can even climb aboard a life-size fire truck.

The Pink Palace Museum

This East Memphis museum houses the city’s only CTI 3D Giant Theater and takes an in-depth look at the unique history of the Mid-South. Visitors can explore a replica of the first self-serve grocery store (Piggly Wiggly), see how Memphis has developed over the last four centuries, and examine one of this city’s most important industries: medicine. The Pink Palace prides itself on state-of-the art exhibitry, and it even boasts a planetarium.