Memphis has so many fun museums, perfect for a family outing; from the Metal Museum to the Fire Museum, there’s something fun for everyone. But Memphis ALSO has a traditional art museum, and while you may not think an art museum is the best place to take your unruly kiddos for an afternoon, I’m here to tell you how wrong you are. We LOVE visiting the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. And I think you will too!
Located in the heart of midtown in the middle of Overton Park, the Brooks Museum is in the center of it all. It’s steps away from the Shell and just down the road from the zoo and Rainbow Lake Playground. So you could easily make a whole day there! Best of all, the museum is free on Wednesdays! I do love a good deal!
**It is relocating downtown in 2025 to Front Street, and I can’t wait to see the New Brooks.
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art has the largest (and, since it was founded in 1916, oldest) collection of art in the state. Its permanent collection is home to more than 10,000 works of art. From ancient Greek and Roman artifacts to contemporary art, there is so much to take in. It is also home to a hands-on family gallery that is devoted to visual literacy. This is my kids’ favorite part. They could spend at least an hour in there. From the check-in desk, head up the stairs to the right and the gallery is right there. Featuring a climbing structure, costumes, an area to lay down in while looking at art and listening to various sounds at the same time, and lots of other interactive activities; this is a really fun area.
My kids also enjoy (for about half an hour at least) looking at the art. I try and pick just one or two areas to explore every time. I will say this: for obvious reasons, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is NOT a hands-on museum. After many years of experiencing only that, there was a learning curve the first time we went; basically I had to remind my kids one million times NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING. But I also think of this as a good life skill to have; knowing how to behave inside a museum or other spaces where you have to be in control of your body will come in handy in the long run. Luckily, the Brooks Museum has lots of cool seating inside the galleries for
kids to climb on people to sit on.
Finally, make sure you head to the bottom floor before you leave. Through the end of September, there is an exhibit called Action!: Art in Motion! Accompanying this is a fun craft for kids and adults: making a kinetic mobile. You color inside a circle with a spiral wrapping around then cut by tracing along the spiral so you have a mobile. My son made his into a snake… Everything you need is in there, including a pre-cut string you can use to hang your mobile once you get home.
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is located at 1934 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104
The Museum Hours:
- Monday and Tuesday- closed
- Wednesday 10-8 (free and open late!)
- Thursday and Friday 10-4
- Saturday 10-5
- Sunday 11-5
- Adults $10
- Senior Adult (65+) $8
- Students with ID $5
- Youth (7-17) $5
- Children FREE
**Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult in the galleries
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