Visitors are welcome to step back into history and experience eighty acres of stately trees and statuary in the beautiful blend of nature and art that is Elmwood Cemetery.
Please come by the Victorian Carpenter Gothic Cottage which serves as our Visitor Center for maps, audio tours, picnic tables and handicap accessible restrooms. Research assistance is also available in the cottage, and security is on the grounds during business hours.
Tickets purchased for any of the events below are not refundable. Coupons are used for "Elmwood 101" tours only.
One America: Moving Beyond the Issue of Race
"One America: Moving Beyond the Issue of Race examines the underlying challenges preventing Americans from achieving the level of racial harmony that most of us desire.
Art Gilliam shares his experience of growing up in the Deep South during the 1950's -- a time when racism was pervasive. His personal story reflects the impact on the black psyche of being black in America during a period of transition from the back of the bus to the election of a black president."
The Read In Peace Book Club meets at 10 AM in the Lord's Chapel. Author Art Gilliam will join us for this discussion. To reserve your seat at the table, email historian [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org.
This title is available online and at local bookstores. Call 901-774-3212 for more information.
After Hours! An Evening Stroll
Bring your flashlight for this fun and fascinating tour of Elmwood! We'll start with a beverage bar and snacks in the Cottage, leaving shortly after 7:00 PM for this 45 minute walk through the cemetery. We'll return to the Cottage, built in 1866...and not entirely quiet at night...
This event is a great way to visit Elmwood Cemetery for first timers and historians alike! Comfortable clothing and good walking shoes are recommended. Call 901-774-3212 for information, or register below. Advance registration is required and cost of admission is $25 per person.
What Lies Beneath…
Gather on Saturday at 1 PM for wine and light hors d'oeuvres with Assistant Director Bob Barnett as he shares its stories, secrets, and hidden treasures. You learn about the building (built in 1866) and its furnishings and hear about “Frozen Charlottes,” the mysterious little dolls left on Elmwood graves more than 100 years ago. You will get to see the actual burial records of some of the enslaved individuals who were buried before the Civil War, as well as people who died during the great Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878. The cost is $25.
Attendance is limited and advance registration is required. For more information call 901-774-3212.
Another one bites the dust! Visit Elmwood on Friday, August 28th, the day the cemetery was founded, and enjoy a sweet treat and a free audio tour. You'll need to budget one hour for the audio tour, so plan to be at the cemetery no later than 3pm. Call for information or directions at 901-774-3212.
The History of the Memphis Riverfront
Shelby County Historian Jimmy Ogle is known for his ability to make the story of history both entertaining and informative, and we're pleased to announce that he'll be back at Elmwood again in 2015! Join us on September 9th at noon for an hour-long presentation on our beloved riverfront and its evolution over the years. Jimmy will talk cobblestones, buildings, cotton, mules, steamships, and more.
Advance registration to this event is required. Charge is $7 per person. Feel free to bring your lunch; cookies and drinks will be provided. Call us at 901-774-3212 for directions.
Yellow Fever: A Tour of the Plague
The history of the Yellow Fever epidemics of 1873, 1878, and 1879 can be found at Elmwood Cemetery. The Howard Association, the Citizens' Relief Committee, the Sisters of St. Mary's, and individuals who fought valiently against the spread of the scourge rest at Elmwood. Join volunteer and former staffer Jody Schmidt for an all-walking tour through the cemetery grounds and learn their stories.
This tour lasts 90 minutes, starts at 10:30 AM, and registration is required. The cost is $15 per person. To register by phone, call 774-3212.
Five Night Stand: A Novel
"Legendary jazz pianist Oliver Pleasant finds himself alone at the end of his career, playing his last five shows, hoping the music will draw his estranged family back…
Frank Severs, a middle-aged, out-of-work journalist, is at a crossroads as his longtime dreams and marriage grind to a standstill…
And piano prodigy Agnes Cassady is desperately grasping for fulfillment before a debilitating disease wrenches control from her trembling fingers…"
The Read In Peace Book Club will be joined by Memphis author Richard Alley at 10:00 AM in the Lord's Chapel for a discussion of the book. Book club meetings are free and open to the public. Please email historian [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org to save your seat or call 901-774-3212.
Jimmy Ogle's Elmwood
Jimmy Ogle is a Memphian with a mental bank filled with city ephemera. His stories about Elmwood and total recall will amaze you when you join him for Jimmy Ogle's Elmwood, a walking tour of the cemetery, on September 19th at 10:30 AM.
Regarded as one of the most entertaining storytellers in the city, Jimmy weaves a delightful fabric of Memphis history that all will enjoy.
Register online or call 901-774-3212. Admission is $15 per person.
Scandals & Scoundrels
Among Elmwood's 75,000 residents are the famous and infamous. Sinners and saints. Mayors and madams. Politicians and perfectly ordinary citizens. Each of them has a story to tell...and some of those stories don't have happy endings.
Join us for a look at the lives of those who contributed the notorious stories of Memphis history that we love to hear. This tour is for grown-ups.
This tour is all-walking and lasts about 90 minutes. Advance registration is required. Cost is $15 per person. Starts at 10:30 AM.
10th ANNUAL COSTUME TWILIGHT TOUR
Please note that all tickets purchased on our website on or after October 16th will be available at the "will call" table, at the cemetery gate, on October 24th.
You may pick up your tickets when you arrive! Thank you!
History comes alive!
If you have never visited Elmwood, this tour is the best way to get to know the cemetery and the individuals who rest here. Costumed characters portraying Elmwood residents will introduce you to the history of Memphis' oldest active cemetery.
This all-walking tour will begin at 4:00 p.m. Tour groups will depart from the Cottage every ten minutes and the last tour will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Special Note: The grounds of the cemetery will be CLOSED beginning at noon on Saturday, October 24th. The gates will re-open at 4PM for the Costume Twilight Tour.
Tickets purchased in advance are $15.00. Tickets may only be purchased at the gate on the day of the tour and will be $20. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
This event takes place rain or shine.
For our mobility-impaired visitors, we recommend that you call ahead and speak with Bob Barnett or Kimberly McCollum regarding tour route information. Call 901-774-3212.
Elmwood is grateful to the Crawford-Howard Private Foundation, ArtsMemphis, and the Tennessee Arts Comission for their generous support of the Costume Twilight Tour.