McClung Museum, Knoxville

What You Can Discover at these Tennessee Museums This Summer

Take a break from summer’s relentless heat with a day wandering air-conditioned galleries and museums. Kids can learn something new at establishments like Discovery Park of America in Union City, and the Museum of Appalachia in Norris. Artifacts, displays and interactive features engage visitors of all ages. New, traveling exhibitions are always popping up in other museums across the state, too. Here are a few traveling exhibitions that you’ll want to stop in and see before they leave Tennessee:


Gaining knowledge has never been so fun! Creativity, exploration and innovation CDM RiverPlay 3345come to life in kid-friendly activities and exhibits at the Creative Discovery Museum. See animated sculptures, climb a tree house, treasure hunt and get a bird’s eye view of Chattanooga. Set off on an adventure to see the Wizard of Oz in the newest traveling exhibit, The Wizard of Oz Children’s Educational Exhibition running through Sept. 7. Visitors start from the Gale Farm and travel to the Land of Oz where they’ll encounter Munchkinland, The Witch’s Castle and, of course, Emerald City. Create a tornado, meet Dorothy and her pals the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. Fight for the Wicked Witch’s broom from the flying monkeys and so much more. Agriculture, culture, self-discovery, and motor skills are just some of the topics covered in this colorful, imaginative exhibit.

McClung Museum, Knoxville

You can learn a lot at the McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, which has collections ranging from archaeology to anthropology. Many artifacts of the first Romans of 57 or 56 BC are on display at the museum from idols to dishes and military boots, giving visitors a glimpse of life in the time. Matisse as well as East Tennessee artists will be on display through Aug. 24 at the museum a part of “The Collector’s Eye: American and European Art from the McClung Museum.” Works range from 19th century portraits to 20th century abstract art. The collection shows the creative evolution over time and how that has shaped society.


In Nashville, the Tennessee State Museum takes the visitor on a history of Tennessee from the land’s first residence, frontier life, antebellum grandeur, the impact of the Civil War, Andrew Jackson’s legacy and the burgeoning new South which experienced the industrial revolution, woman’s suffrage, Prohibition and the state’s involvement in social issues. A new exhibition rolled into the museum earlier in June to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The exhibit, “Rendezvous with Destiny: the 101st Airborne Division and D-Day” has a selection of artifacts like the uniform, pistol, and personal items from Richard “Dick” Winters, commanding officer of the 101st unit, “Easy” Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The 101st “Screaming Eagles” role was portrayed in the HBO series, “Band of Brothers,” based on the book by Stephen Ambrose. The exhibition will be on view through Jan. 10, 2015.

Frist Broadway twilight

Art and animation collide for a couple of months at Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts with “Watch Me Move,” an exhibition that presents the full range of animation produced in the last 120 years. More than 100 works are coupled in thematic groups which explore humor, violence, transformation and fantasy and will play through Sept. 1.

After walking through cinematic history, walk upstairs to the Upper-Level Galleries for the mind-bending exhibition, “Real/Surreal: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art.” Artistic works by Grant Wood, Edward Hopper, and Federico Castellón among others are on display. Walk along the gallery and come to your own conclusions whether a work is realistic – a work that has observed the world in its natural state or surreal – a work that interprets reality as subjective and plays off the mind.


The David Lusk Gallery in Memphis will welcome an exhibition filled with wit and absurdity as Tim Crowder’s “Play the Game” opens July 1-26 with a reception 6 p.m. July 11. Crowder has always had a knack for humor among his storytelling and it really shines in this exhibition. The works challenge man’s fixed perceptions of reality through dream-like sculptures and paintings.

Pink Palace Museum, Memphis

Giant insects are taking over Memphis Pink Palace of Family Museums. Thankfully, they’re robotic but are still scientifically accurate and provide a look into their behaviors. A locust, spider, honeybee and dragonfly are just some of the insects visitors can see in this newest exhibition, “Twice Bitten: Robotic Insects & Live Tarantulas,” on display through Sept. 1. Ever want to see the inside of a meerkat’s crib? Burrow into their world, headed by matriarch, Klinky in the fun and educational “Meerkats 3D” now playing in the CTI 3D Giant Theater at the museum.

Which exhibitions have you seen or are planning to see? Let me know in the comment box below!

Hey! I’m Amanda Stravinsky, a born-and-raised Jersey girl who now makes her home in the awesome, musically-inclined city of...Read on

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