Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Museum subjects vary greatly from city to city, and can range from firefighter's museums to fine art, to sports. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Knoxville.


Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of Visit Knoxville

A thirty-foot tall basketball, which weighs more than 10 tons and sits on top of a glass staircase that resembles a basketball net, beckons visitors to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Located in downtown Knoxville, this 32,000-square-foot building features interactive, hands-on exhibits that trace the history of the sport from its beginning in 1892 to the creation of the WNBA. Individuals that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame include University of Tennessee and Olympic coach Pat Summitt, Olympic star Cheryl Miller, and Asian great Shin-Ja Park. The Hall of Fame features memorabilia such as uniforms, rulebooks, and trophies, as well as an interactive exhibit where you can test your fundamental basketball skills of shooting, passing, and dribbling. A gift shop is located on-site.

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This museum chronicles the contributions of African-Americans to the east Tennessee region. You'll find an impressive collection of historical books, newspapers, recordings, films, and artifacts.

Read more about Beck Cultural Exchange Center →

The McClung Museum features extensive collections in archaeology, natural history, anthropology, medicine, art, and local history. Exhibits range from prehistoric times to the present, spotlighting the state's history and culture. Accredited by the American Association of Museums.

Read more about Frank H. McClung Museum →


Located on the first floor of the Art and Architecture Building, the gallery showcases a wide assortment of local, national, and international works and hosts numerous special events and annual exhibits that showcase both faculty and student work. There's also an impressive permanent collection.

Read more about Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture →

Museum of Appalachia

This charming Appalachian mountain village is comprised of 70 acres. The lovingly renovated buildings include a chapel, barns, cabins, and a schoolhouse. There are also artifacts, such as handcrafted instruments. Located less than a half hour from Knoxville.

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You'll find the work of influential artist R. Tait McKenzie at this gallery, including a good representation of medals, statuettes, and bas-reliefs. McKenzie is best known for his passion for sports excellence.

Read more about Joseph B. Wolffe Gallery →

Museum of East Tennessee History

This museum traces the area's history, from its beginnings in the 1700s to the present. Guided tours feature a documentary and numerous hands-on exhibits. Enjoy displays devoted to the "Trail of Tears," Davy Crockett, Bonnie Kate Sevier, the Civil War, and the Underground Railroad.

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Discover the life and career of Civil War hero David Glasgow Farragut at this informative museum. Farragut, the United States Navy's first admiral, is well-remembered through a series of personal items and artifacts. There's also a general collection of exhibits related to East Tennessee.

Read more about Farragut Folklife Museum →

The Knoxville Museum of Art offers a stellar ensemble of American contemporary art, as well as frequent exhibits devoted to international work. There is an exploratory gallery, gift shop, and gardens as well.

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