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.
Suds & Stories
In 2001, Memphis filmmaker Willy Bearden began documenting historic Elmwood Cemetery. His film, Reflections of Elmwood, has been shown on television hundreds of times. What fans of this work don't know is the backstory. During the making of the film, he was facing difficult personal challenges that would ultimately help to transform his perspective on life, but it took several more years of creative, reflective work, and almost losing everything, before he discovered the key to success, and love.
You may have heard Willy speak before, but this is a new talk. This is the story of his journey.
Join us for beer, wine, and refreshments on Saturday, August 26th, at 1:00 pm in the Lord's Chapel for a truly unique story about Elmwood Cemetery, life, and the most powerful gift of all: encouragement. Reservations are required. Cost is $15 per person. Call 901-774-3212 or email historian [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org for details.
Yellow Fever: A Tour of the Plague
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT!
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 valiantly against the spread of the scourge rest at Elmwood. Join Assistant Director Bob Barnett 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 $20 per person. To register by phone, call 774-3212.
The Voices of Yellow Fever
Yellow fever (also known as Yellow Jack, the American Plague and the Saffron Knight) decimated the city of Memphis for much of the 1870's. So many died of the fever or fled that the city lost its charter, becoming a taxing district under Nashville. This plague would claim thousands of lives. Many of the individuals who tried to help stop the scourge of yellow fever rest at Elmwood.
Join the Elmwood Players as they present a first-person narrative account of what life was like during the yellow fever. You'll meet costumed characters with stories of triumph and tragedy that will leave you breathless.
Lunch is served with this event, which begins at noon in the Chapel. The cost is $20 per person. Advance registration is required. Call 901-774-3212 for information or to register.
Cemetery Cinema: Save the date!
This film will be announced the last week of August. Start time: 7:30 pm.
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 16th at 1:00pm.
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 $20 per person.
American Sign Language Tour
Elmwood Cemetery is proud to partner with DeafConnect, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower deaf individuals and their families, for a history tour given in American Sign Language. This is the first tour of its kind at Elmwood and is specifically designed to meet the needs and curiosity of deaf individuals who would like to know more about the history of the oldest active cemetery in Memphis. Tour guides will be Jessie Coss and Summer Chappell, DeafConnect Director of Community Services/Certified Interpreter of ASL.
This tour is a pay-what-you-can history tour of Elmwood and will be all-walking for 90 minutes. This tour will start at 2:00 pm. Good walking shoes are recommended. Donations will be collected at the beginning of the tour.
Reservations are requested! Please let us know you're coming so that we can plan accordingly. This tour is limited to 35 individuals.
Questions? Email historian [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org.
11th Annual Costume Twilight Tour
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 3:30 p.m. Tour groups will depart from the Cottage every ten minutes. Those in line by 5:00 p.m. will be accomodated (the line closes at 5pm)
Special Note: The grounds of the cemetery will be CLOSED beginning at noon on Saturday, October 14th. The gates will re-open at 3:30PM for the Costume Twilight Tour.
Admission is $20. Pre-sales will end at 3 pm on Friday, October 13th. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
Tickets are available this year online only. There will be no admissions sold at the gate. This event will sell out! We encourage you to purchase tickets well in advance.
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 for their generous support of the Costume Twilight Tour.
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 only, please!
This tour is all-walking and lasts about 90 minutes. Advance registration is required. Cost is $20 per person. Starts at 1:00 PM.
All Saints' Day Candlelight Memorial Service
Elmwood Cemetery is a place of remembrance, grief, and love. Elmwood Cemetery's All Saints' Day Memorial Service is dedicated to those who have attained heaven - those who have died, and ascended.
Elmwood invites you to a special Candlelight Memorial Service in the Lord's Chapel on November 1st at 5 PM. This special evening of remembrance is open to all. Visitors will be invited to light a candle on display in the chapel.
This service is free. Space is limited. Please call the Elmwood Office at 901-774-3212, or email kmccollum [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org for information.
BYOBike at Elmwood
Join volunteer Cookie Swain as she leads a bicycle tour of Elmwood Cemetery on Sunday, November 12th at 2pm. Bring your bike and enjoy a lovely spring afternoon of cycling back through the history of Memphis with a knowledgeable and fun tour guide! $15 per person. Our bicycle tours are big hits - register today!