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Discover Art & History in Downtown Knoxville

Around Town

There are numerous museums and art galleries within historic Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee's 0.67 square-mile walkable district. Spend an afternoon exploring their unique offerings, grab a coffee, and get lost in The Maker City!


Blount Mansion

Blount Mansion is considered the Birthplace of Tennessee. Circa-1792, Blount Mansion was home to U.S. Constitution signer William Blount, appointed by President George Washington to govern the Southwest Territory, which Blount shepherded into admission to the union as our nation’s sixteenth state. The Mansion was restored and opened for tours in 1930, and now, it's designated as one of only 30 National Historic Landmarks in the State of Tennessee and the only one in Knox County. Take a tour Wednesday-Sunday!

Knoxville Museum of Art

The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates East Tennessee's rich and diverse visual culture and its connections to the wider currents of world art. It's home to one of the largest figurative glass-and-steel assemblages in the world, the "Cycle of Life," as well as newly-renovated exhibits. There's a lovely garden with outdoor sculptures, a water feature, and a great view of the Sunsphere. Best of all, a trip to KMA is free! Open Tuesday-Sunday.

Emporium Center

The Emporium is 28,000 square feet of flexible-use space for multiple art galleries showcasing local and regional artists. It's the place to begin First Friday ArtWalk where you'll find live music and a beautiful space to explore rotating exhibits. It's also home to Casa HoLa, featuring local Hispanic/Latinx photography, paintings, ceramics and popular art; Gallery 1010, a contemporary gallery managed by University of Tennessee art students; the Arts & Culture Alliance, supporting our community of artists, arts organizations, and cultural institutions; and fifteen working artists studios. The Emporium is open to the public Monday-Saturday and is free!

Curio at Maker Exchange

Immerse yourself in a truly, authentic celebration of local artists and makers at Maker Exchange, where just about every detail is sourced from Knoxville makers, from mugs at the coffee shop to the furniture you sit on to the fine art on display. And in the heart of Maker Exchange, you'll find The Curio—an immersive gallery space and shoppable display of Knoxville-made sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and more. Open seven days a week.

James White’s Fort

The Birthplace of Knoxville! In 1786, James White built a two-story log cabin—now James White's Fort—after he earned a land grant of 1,000 acres for his service in the Revolutionary War. Soon after, 100 settlers joined him for the start of modern-day Knoxville! More than 10,000 visitors tour the Fort each year and experience the frontier lifestyle through hands-on interpretation of Open Hearth Cooking, Blacksmithing and Spinning. Take a tour Monday-Saturday (closed Saturdays from December – March).

Museum of East Tennessee History

With over 13,000 artifacts, the Museum of East Tennessee History does an incredible job showcasing East Tennessee’s history, heritage, and geography. The permanent exhibit, Voices of the Land, tells the story of the region's earliest people. Other fun pop-up exhibits have included a Mountain Dew Museum and You Should Have Been There World's Fair Exhibition. The museum, open seven days a week, is free on Sundays and always free for kids under 16.

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is the only facility of its kind dedicated to all levels of women’s basketball, plus home to the world’s largest basketball weighing 10 tons with 96,000 pebbles! You can test your skills on three different courts, a dribbling course, and a passing skills area. There is also a photo area where you can pretend to be different players throughout history. Open Tuesday-Saturday. A great experience for basketball lovers of any age!

Art in Public Places

On a pretty day, don't miss Dogwood Arts' Art in Public Places Sculpture Program. The annually rotating, outdoor sculpture exhibition is on display year round in prominent locations within the downtown central business district and throughout Knoxville. More than 20 of this year's collection created by artists from across the country can be found in Krutch Park.

Looking for More?

Join us each month for Downtown Knoxville's First Friday ArtWalk. It's a celebration of our rich art scene with exhibitions and live music at galleries, studios, retail shops, and a variety of venues throughout the community!