The history of Memphis is told through the stories of Elmwood residents. Meet the city fathers, early mayors and every day citizens that helped shape the history of the Bluff City. A tour of Elmwood is a journey through the past.
A docent-led tour is an excellent way to tour Elmwood’s 80 acres. Along the way, you’ll see our stunning collection of monuments and hear the stories of those who rest here.
Tours can be arranged for groups of 10 or more adults. The cost is $15/person and tours last approximately 90 minutes. Tours can be adjusted to accommodate your group’s special interests be it yellow fever or the Civil War.
Bus tours can be arranged for mobility-impaired groups. Please contact the Elmwood Office prior to your visit to ensure your bus can safely navigate the tight turns in the cemetery.
Don’t have a group of 10 people? Public Docent tours are scheduled on select Saturday mornings. Tours begin at 10:30 am and last approximately 90 minutes. The cost is $15/person and advance reservations are not required. Tours meet in front of the cottage. Please check the events section of the website for a complete listing of public docent tours.
Finally, our audio tour is available for rent for $10 in the Cottage (on the left, as you enter the cemetery grounds). The audio tour lasts approximately one hour and visits over 60 stops throughout Elmwood. The tour rental includes an audio CD to play in your car and a map that interprets some of the more common symbols found on our tombstones. The map can be purchased by itself for $5. Audio tours are available for rent Monday through Friday from 8:00 am till 3:30 pm and Saturday from 8:00 till noon.
Public Walking Tours
Enjoy a docent-led walking tour of the oldest active cemetery in Memphis. Public tours are scheduled once a month on Saturdays beginning at 10:30 a.m. and last approximately an hour and a half. The cost is $15 per person. Tours begin at the Cottage and comfortable shoes are recommended. Advance registration is not required but is recommended.
Visit the events section of this website to see when public tours are offered.
Private Adult Group Tours
For groups of ten or more, a special walking or bus tour can be scheduled during cemetery hours. Tours last approximately an hour and a half. Picnic and restroom facilities are available. The cost is $15 per person. Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. To schedule your tour, email Kelly Sowell(historian [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org) or phone at 901-774-3212.
Tree Tours for Adults
Elmwood has almost 1,500 trees on the property — some dating back to the cemetery’s founding in 1852. Enjoy a docent-led tour of the Carlisle S. Page Arboretum, a level two Tennessee State Arboretum. The cost is $10 per person. Tours begin at the Cottage and comfortable shoes are recommended.
How do I bring my club to the cemetery? We want to visit!
Are you a member of a civic group, garden club, or Sunday school class that would like to visit Elmwood for a lunchtime treat? Meet at noon in the Lord’s Chapel for a special presentation on the history of Elmwood or the gardens of Elmwood. Your group is welcome to bring sack lunches for this mid-day, half-hour presentation. Feel free to finish up your hour long rental with your group’s business meeting, should you need to. The cost for your hour of enjoyment and learning is $50.
Afterwards, an Elmwood staffer would be thrilled to provide your group with a 20 minute walking tour. Stops on the route include Elmwood’s state champion Atlas cedar tree, the Snowden angel, the obelisk on the Boss Crump lot, a very special swing, and more. This add-on tour costs $7 per person.
To reserve the Chapel for your group, please email historian [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org or call 901-774-3212 and ask to speak to Kelly Sowell.