Knoxville’s goal to create a children’s museum dates back to 1960 with the establishment of Student’s Museum, Inc. The first museum was housed in the American Legion Building on State Street in downtown Knoxville. Chartered by the Knoxville Junior Academy of Science and the Akima Club, the organization would gain non-profit status by 1969 and would then create a new facility in 1974 near the newly established Knoxville Zoo.
The new museum included work space for children, a planetarium, and exhibition areas. At some point, the Student’s Museum became the East Tennessee Discovery Center which would in turn merge with Muse Knoxville in 2013. Muse Knoxville was established with some of the same goals in mind of its predecessors, and their mission today is to inspire and empower generations at the intersection of science and art. Located in historic Chilhowee Park, Muse Knoxville offers a wide range of interactive experiences for children and families.
Upon arrival, families will immediately see a large playground to the left of the main building. Those seeking refuge from the summer heat will enjoy a variety of activities inside. After you pay a small admission fee, visitors are free to move about the space at their own pace. Several new interactives are some of the first experiences that you encounter at Muse Knoxville. These include areas where you can build air rockets, learn about electricity, and move cars along tracks using air pressure that the children build up themselves.
Another popular area is the “spaceship” Discovery. Screens, knobs, and other gadgetry gives children the feeling of flying in their own spaceship. Just around the bend are more interactives that include a “Farmers Market” and a “Healthy Kids Clinic”. Towards the back of the building visitors will find areas to build Lego cars complete with ramps to race your creations. You can also build structures out of large-scale foam shapes, or immerse yourself in the arts center which offers a wide range of craft activities. These are just a few of the experiences you will encounter when visiting Muse Knoxville. The museum also offers weekly programming including:
Muse Mondays – includes a special craft project, sensory activities along with a story.
Knoxville Skies Tours - provides educational programming about the skies of East Tennessee and participants learn about stars, constellations, and planets in the East Tennessee skies.
Science and Art a la carte - a weekly exploration or experiment with Muse educators.
Saturday Science Connections - explores a different topic every month and includes a hands-on activity with Muse educators and local experts.
Sunday Art Inspirations - where local artists show children their artistic processes and participants create and take home their own project.
Learn more about Muse Knoxville or take a 360° tour at http://www.themuseknoxville.org.