The Tennessee State Museum

Tennessee State Museum and the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission

The Tennessee State Museum's former and present location and its plan for a new museum organized by the Douglas Henry State Commission members

The Tennessee General Assembly built the Tennessee State Museum to protect and show memorable items from World War One. The museum was established in the War Memorial building in 1937 on 6th Avenue North. The museum eventually moved to the James K. Polk Building in 1981. The building’s space is also shared with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The museum’s business is managed by the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission. The members of the commission are tasked with showcasing the cultural history contained in the museum for the public. The members hold meetings at least four times each year to discuss museum ethics, new employee training, budgets, new business plans and much more. The board meetings are essential for the museum’s daily function. Their mission is to make sure that visitors receive the best access to the historic collections and ever-changing exhibits and all the artifacts are well preserved adequately for the public.

The museum covers 120,000 square feet on three floors and displays exhibits ranging from prehistoric people in 13,000 BCE to the history of the early 1900s with paintings, silver, weapons, furniture, uniforms, and one of the largest Confederate battle flags from the Civil War.
In 2013, the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission made plans for a new state museum to hold a wider range of artifacts such as the possessions of past high-ranking state officials and constitutional officers. The plan was approved in August 2013 with the cost of construction totaling $475,000. The new museum opened on October 4, 2018.

The Tennessee State Museum remains as the best home to secure Tennessee’s valuable history of artifacts including old documents, paintings, furniture and weapons used by people from the past.



1000 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208