Five unusual Tennessee museums


Sometimes we just need to learn something new. To see life from a different perspective. To have an adventure, explore fresh territory. These five Tennessee museums offer all of the above after an easy drive from Knoxville. Plug one into Google Maps and have a great day!

1. Green McAdoo Cultural Center: Learn about the desegregation of Clinton High School in 1956 and about the Clinton 12, the dozen Black young men and women to first join the ranks of students at the school. The center is open Tuesday through Saturday. 

2. Tennessee Valley Railway Museum: Go learn about the history of the railroad in Chattanooga — and take a ride, too! The Tennessee Valley Railway Museum lets you do both, by preserving historic railroad equipment and offering passenger train rides through the Missionary Ridge Tunnel, completed in 1858. Hum “Chattanooga Choo Choo” as you go!

David Yando Lane Motor Museum

3. The Lane Motor Museum: For the motor heads among us, the Lane Motor Museum, also in Nashville, offers 150 unusual cars and motorcycles, including the largest European collection in the U.S. The collection includes microcars, amphibious vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles and prototypes. 

4. Loretta Lynn Ranch: Southwest of Nashville is Loretta Lynn’s home and the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum, which lets visitors see artifacts from her beginnings in Butcher Holler, Ky., to stardom in country music. The ranch also offers camping. 

5. The Carter House: While you’re in the Nashville area, pop over to Franklin for some Civil War history. Tours at the Carter House, as well as two other historic houses, Carnton and Rippa Villa, tell the story of the Battle of Franklin. Specialty tours can include the battlefield and the story of the enslaved people there. 

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