Bessie Smith Cultural Center 

The Bessie Smith Cultural Center, the Chattanooga African American Museum, reopened on June 25, 2021, to the public after being closed for fifteen months during the pandemic. The new museum vision, supported by its board and dedicated staff displays the true history of African Americans in Chattanooga.

Incorporating new technology and exhibits has allowed the organization to better tell the story of African Americans in Chattanooga throughout history. The new vision and exhibits were made possible by support from numerous community partners in the Chattanooga area. Interactive kiosks, new exhibits, a children’s education corner and more give guests a new experience like never before. You can walk through Chattanooga African American history starting with Native Americans and slavery and up to today’s current events. The exhibits also include the story of Ed Johnson. Learn more about his life, followed by a visit to the new memorial honoring him. 

If you go: 

  • Hours of operation: Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m
  • Admission: Adults $10; kids, students and senior citizens $7; group rate (10 or more) $5 per person
  • For more information, call (423) 266-8658 or visit

bessie smith cultural center