If you are looking at what to do in Clarksville, Tennessee, consider visiting the following museums. These 3 Must-See Museums are family-friendly, and you will learn, have fun, and enjoy some of the best views of the city.
Before you keep reading: GoldenAgeTrips.com is making use of affiliate links, which in some cases will end up in a commission for purchases originated from this website. However, all referred companies/products/accommodations have been tried out or researched by us first. This post was also created with the help of Visit Clarksville, who hosted us for a weekend.
Don F. Pratt Museum
Military Helicopter with the United States Cavalry insignia – One of the many military aircraft on the museum’s park.
Some will say the Don F. Pratt Museum is not in Tennessee, but Kentucky since that is the official address of Fort Campbell where the museum is.
However, if you look back into the history of this military base, you’ll find out politics might have played a part on why Fort Campbell is in Kentucky and not in Tennessee (as the city limits indicate). So because of this and how close is it to Clarksville, I’ll include it on this list.
The Don F. Pratt Museum was established in 1956 but underwent a renovation and reopened to the public in 2018. Thanks to Visit Clarksville TN I was able to visit the museum during Memorial Day Weekend, which made this visit a more reflective one.
The museum’s focus centers on the 101st Airborne Division (“Screaming Eagles”), and their role in the US Military and through different battles and campaigns.
As the name of the museum suggests, there is also memorabilia of Brig. Gen. Don F. Pratt, the highest-ranking Allied officer killed on D-Day.
Memorial in honor of the 11th Airborne Division – First activated during World War II.
Also on display, there are military uniforms through the years, “barracks,” military equipment, and even a completely restored CG-4A cargo glider. Outside, there is a park with fully restored military aircraft and tanks that will impress everyone.
All items have descriptions, and you don’t need to be an expert on military history to appreciate the memorabilia, how they are displayed, but most importantly, the lives remembered through the museum.
Note: To visit the Don F. Pratt Museum you need to have a USA Government Issued ID. At check in you might be subject to the inspection of your car, and you need to state where you are going.
Customs House Museum and Cultural Center
The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center building was inspired by the different styles used in Victorian America.
One of the most well-known and photographed buildings in Clarksville is the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, erected in 1898.
Based on its name you can deduce this building has not been a museum during all its lifetime, but that it used to be a Customs House/Post Office during the booming tobacco trade.
Today, the building houses items and collections that display Clarksville’s and Montgomery County history and culture. Since their 1996 expansion, its 50,000 sq ft makes the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center the second’s largest museum in Tennessee.
There is historical, scientific, and artistic material. There are also permanent and rotating exhibitions for every age.
One of the most entertaining exhibits we stumbled upon was the Bubble Cave (which is supposed to be for kids), but I’m pretty sure anyone will have fun making gigantic bubbles in which you are inside.
View of Memory Lane from one of the doors at the exhibition Our Town: Stories Within Clarksville’s Doorways.
I also truly enjoyed “Our Town: Stories Within Clarksville’s Doorways.” A temporary exhibition that includes doorways from various Clarksville institutions, together with photographs and artifacts.
When visiting make sure you have enough time to make the most of your visit. Because of its size, you can easily spend half a day here going through all the different exhibitions, displays and participating from scheduled activities.
Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretative Center
View of Downtown Clarksville from Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretative Center.
Built during the American Civil War on the Cumberland River, Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretative Center four acres watches over Downtown Clarksville.
Thanks in part to how the fort was involved in skirmishes and not big battles between the Union and Confederates armies, previous owners that preserved the land, and money that was given from the City of Clarksville for the construction of the Interpretative Center, the area looks very well maintained and you can get in touch with nature and history at the same time.
Cannon and Trails at Fort Defiance.
It is also worth mentioning that the people that work at the Fort are knowledgeable, personable and will teach you everything you need to know about Fort Defiance’s history.
I was also able to catch a presentation by Mark Britton at an activity organized by Friends of Fort Defiance.
Here he spoke about medical treatments and medicine during the Civil War. Additionally, he taught about medicine and doctors in the 1860s and brought 19th-century medical instruments (including leeches!). If you are interested in the Schedule of Events organized by Friends of Fort Defiance Click Here.
As you can see, this is only a snippet of things to do in the city of Clarksville. The previously mentioned museums can be comfortably explored during a weekend visit. For more information about things to do and see in Clarksville, TN during a weekend click here for Clarksville, Tennessee: The Ultimate Weekend Guide.
More about Clarksville, Tennessee:
Don’t forget to Share & Pin