Museum of East Tennessee History

East Tennessee History Center
601 South Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902

First Floor
M-F: 9am - 4pm
Sat: 10am - 4pm
Sun: 1pm - 5pm

About the Museum

Whether you have lived here all your life or are visiting for the first time, it does not take long to realize that East Tennessee is a special place. It is a land of verdant mountains and valleys, a land where the progress of the Tennessee Valley Authority, atomic energy facilities, and a state university blend with generations-old traditions to create a cherished way of life.

To truly know East Tennessee today, though, you must first explore its past. And, the East Tennessee Historical Society invites you to do just that—to come explore, to come learn about the people, places, and events that have shaped our region through the award-winning exhibits housed at the Museum of East Tennessee History.

The Museum is located at the East Tennessee History Center in the heart of downtown Knoxville, directly across the street from the Tennessee Theatre and just blocks from other historic attractions, such as Blount Mansion and James White's Fort. Open seven days a week, the Museum has been developed to capture the interest of a wide range of audiences. For instance, the interactive displays found in the signature exhibition, Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee, allow visitors the opportunity to not only be in the presence of original artifacts that stood witness to the region's past but also to hear first-person accounts of what life was like, all amidst a backdrop of compelling, historic imagery. The Museum mounts a number of changing exhibits throughout the year, too, each of which focuses on a unique aspect of East Tennessee. 

Peruse the galleries below for information about what is currently on view, and then come find your place in East Tennessee history at the Museum of East Tennessee History!


Admission is $10.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors 55 & over, and FREE for children 16 and under. A $6 per person Group Rate is available for adult groups of 10 or more. Admission is FREE each Sunday, and ETHS Members always receive FREE admission.

We also offer school tours and group tours!

Discounted Admission Programs

Museums for All Subsidized Admission

For families who participate in SNAP, WIC or TANF we provide an admission fee of $2 per person (for up to four people). To reserve tickets please visit the guest service desk with proof of eligibility when you arrive. 

Museums for All is a cooperative initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Association of Children’s Museums.


Blue Star Museums 

The Blue Star Museums program provides free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families during the summer.  The 2023 program will begin on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, may 20, 2023, and end on Labor day, Monday, September 4, 2023.  Find the list of participating museums at

Blue Star Museums is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families, in collaboration with the Department of Defense and participating museums across America.



Penny 4 Arts

Penny4Arts gives every child in Knox and surrounding counties an opportunity to attend arts and culture events/activities at the maximum cost of ONE PENNY (or FREE) when accompanied by a paying adult.

ETHS offers free admission to the Museum of East Tennessee History for one parent accompanying a participating child. Please let the front desk associate at the East Tennessee History Center know that you are attending with the Penny4Arts deal to receive free museum admission.


PASTPORT: Your Key to the History of Knoxville, Tennessee

The PastPort gives purchasers admission for a regular tour at the current seven members of Historic House Museums of Knoxville as well as the Museum of East Tennessee History. 

PastPorts available for purchase now! Proceeds from each PastPort go directly to the Historic House Museums of Knoxville. PastPorts can be purchased in person at any of the following locations: James White’s FortBlount MansionMarble SpringsHistoric Ramsey HouseMabry-Hazen HouseWestwoodMuseum of East Tennessee History, and Visit Knoxville.

Interested in visiting the Museum of East Tennessee History soon? If so, learn about the exhibits that are currently on display. While the signature exhibit, Voices of the Land, and the East Tennessee Streetscape remain on permanent view, there is always a new exhibit to experience in the Rogers-Claussen Feature Gallery.

One of the primary ways the Museum of East Tennessee History fulfills its mission is through an active exhibition program. These award-winning exhibitions often focus on a particular aspect of East Tennessee's culture and heritage and, since they change frequently, visitors are encouraged to return often to explore the region's past. See what's being planned next!

Want to re-live highlights from the Museum of East Tennessee History's past exhibitions? Take a stroll down Memory Lane via these archived projects.

At the heart of the Museum of East Tennessee History is its permanent collection, consisting of more than 13,000 artifacts. Strengths of the collection include decorative arts, textiles, and Civil War items. Learn how you can donate to the permanent collection. It is the future of the past!

From time to time, the Museum of East Tennessee History organizes exhibitions for travel. Intended for museums, universities, and other educational institutions, these traveling exhibitions are developed around themes with broad, regional appeal.