The Metal Museum, sitting on the historic former United States Marine Hospital overlooking the Mississippi River, is a gem hidden just south of downtown Memphis. The museum opened in 1979 and has since expanded to an entire campus containing a library, resident space for artists, a blacksmith shop, the Lawler Foundry, a repairs and restoration lab, sculpture gardens, and a lovely gazebo overlooking the river. It is the only institution in the United States dedicated solely to the craft of metalwork.
The Metals Studio includes the blacksmith shop and the foundry. Both spaces offer classes, host special workshops by visiting artists, and do commissioned works for private clients. You have probably seen metal works from the Metal Museum Metals Studio without even knowing it! Metalworkers from the museum have made a weathervane for the Memphis Zoo, repaired the gates at Graceland, and created trophies for the Memphis in May International Barbecue Cooking Contest. The Metal Museum staff members even showcase works straight from the foundry with their iconic metal name tags. The artists in the blacksmith shop and foundry are provided with the space to practice their craft and offer restoration/repair services and commissions.
The Metal Museum offers classes and workshops for children, youth, and for the whole family to enjoy. The Youth Makers Guild provides two-hour long sessions for students to learn about metalworking tools and techniques, explore their creativity and take home a piece of work that they made on their own. The museum also offers the Make Your Own Series: a monthly session where you can make your own project to take home with you.
The museum sees 30,000 visitors annually from all over the world. In an 8-month span of data collection, visitors reported hailing from 46 states and 14 countries. Several visitor groups indicated that they were attracted to the Metal Museum because of its’ unique nature. The museum’s gallery space is utilized beautifully and extensively. In 2018, the museum hosted 12 different exhibitions. The same year, the museum simultaneously offered 64 guided tours and 92 different educational programming opportunities reaching more than 11,000 people.
The Metal Museum is truly a fantastic part of the art community in Memphis and serves as a unique cultural gem holding down the riverfront. Visit the Metal Museum website to plan your visit today!