Tours Education

The Virginia B. McGehee Youth Education Program at Elmwood presents a unique tool which will help teachers and students learn more about Memphis history.  Thousands of students tour the grounds annually.  The following educational opportunities are offered throughout the year, but we can customize a tour to meet your needs.

Due to liability issues, all Youth Education tour groups must be supervised by an Elmwood staff member.

Click here for our Youth Education Guide. 

Tours are scheduled on Tuesdays through Fridays on a first-come, first-served basis.  The tour usually lasts about 90 minutes, including monument rubbings if the group is interested in doing so. Tours fill up quickly in October, so please plan ahead.  Tours can be scheduled by contacting Kelly Sowell at 901-774-3212 or by email(historian [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org).  When calling for a tour, please have a specific date in mind as well as a back-up date in case your first choice is not available.  A small picnic area is available for your use.  Please ask about using the area when scheduling your tour.

Students:  $5 each
Adults:  $5 each
Teachers:  Free

Docent-led Tour of Elmwood Cemetery

This tour presents an overview of Elmwood and Memphis history.  Buried beneath our trees are people from every walk of life and culture, famous and infamous, Generals, Mayors, Soldiers and perfectly ordinary citizens.  Students will also learn customs from various cultures and funerary symbolism of the Victorian era.  The tour is capped off with monument rubbings that students can take home.  Please allow two hours for a full tour plus monument rubbings.  Grades 3-12.

Download a lesson plan to prepare for your upcoming tour.

IMG 0247 Rubbings2edited IMG 0111 St Marys 024 DSC04460 DSC04443 Alissa Abercrombies 2nd Grade Campus School 006

African-American History Tour

From the beginning, Elmwood has been open to all, and African-Americans— free and enslaved—were buried here.  This docent-led tour will introduce students to leaders in the civil rights movement, pioneers in the medical professions and those who quietly worked to break down barriers and bring power to a people.  Please allow 90 minutes for this program.  Grades 5-12.

Slave Monument 2 IMG 0813 Harold E Smith St Marys 037

Civil War History Tour

Elmwood is the final resting place for more than 1000 Confederate soldiers, officers and generals.  Students will visit some of the most interesting soldiers, spies and ordinary citizens who played a part in the War Between the States.  Please allow 90 minutes for this tour.   Grades 5-12.

Teachers, it is highly recommended that your students have previously studied Civil War history before they take this tour.  

Approximately 1200 Confederate soldiers are buried at Elmwood, many in the section known as Confederate's Rest. Captain Kit Dalton also road with the James gang and Cole Younger. General Patton Anderson is one of 20 Confederate Generals buried at Elmwood. General William J. Smith is one of two Union Generals buried at Elmwood. The monument to the Confederate soldiers was erected June 5, 1878.

Arboretum Tour and Tree Search

There are over 1400 trees in the Carlisle S. Page Arboretum, some of which date back earlier than the city of Memphis.  On this docent-led tour, students will learn about trees and their identifying characteristics by using “Clue Bags” provided for them.  The Arboretum at Elmwood is a certified Level 2 State of Tennessee arboretum.  Please allow 90 minutes for the program.  Grades 2-6.

The Japanese Maple is one of the prettiest trees in fall.  In Japan, these tree is called The beautiful pink flowers bloom in early spring, a sign that spring--and warmer weather--is on the way. This Chastetree was planted in June 1999.  Chasteberry trees produce flowers and berries that can be dried and used medicinally. Many of the Crepe Myrtles were planted by Carlisle S. Page,  long-time trustee of Elmwood.  The Arboretum at Elmwood was named in his honor.

Scout Tours

Mid-south scouts can earn a medal after finding the answers to Eagle Scout John Marshall’s scavenger hunt! John created this scavenger hunt as a fun way for those still working up the scouting ranks to learn history and find interesting details on some of Elmwood Cemetery’s beautiful and historic markers. The hunt will take your troop over most of our 80 acres so bring a picnic to enjoy on our available tables afterward. Copies are .50 each and medals are $5.00 each.  For more information or to obtain a copy of the scavenger hunt, please contact Kelly Sowell at 901-774-3212.

Meritbadge Scouts Scoutgroup