Tennessee State Museum is a large museum in Nashville depicting the history of the U.S. state of Tennessee. Starting from pre-colonization and going all the way to the 20th century, the museum describes the American Civil War, the Frontier, and the age of President Andrew Jackson. The museum includes an area of more than 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of permanent exhibits and a hall with changing exhibitions covering 10,000 feet (3,000 m). The total ground area of the museum is 120,000 feet (37,000 m) spread over three floors. The museum's collection of uniforms, weapons, and battle flags from the Civil War is one of the largest in the nation.
The museum is situated in the bottom floors of the James K. Polk building in downtown Nashville, a building shared with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. A new building to house the museum is being planned for the Bicentennial Mall State Park.
The museum also has a military museum describing the country's military conflicts. This exhibition goes from the early battles of the Spanish-American War all the way to World War II. The museum features a museum store offering handmade crafts, jewelry, and Tennessee memorabilia.
The earliest recordings of the museum go back to 1817 when a portrait artist, Ralph E. W. Earl opened a museum at the public square of Nashville. The first larger state museum opened in 1937, when the General Assembly decided that the state needed a museum to deal with various collections from the state and mementos from World War I. The museum remained at the War Memorial Building until it moved to its current location in 1981.