You can visit seven Chattanooga area museums for the price of one ticket this week. Here's how.

Songbirds Guitar Museum holds an extensive collection of classic guitars unlike any other collection in the country.
photo This Cadogan porcelain teapot in a rose medallion pattern is from the late 19th or early 20th century. It is among the unusual pieces found at the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts.

Where can you view a tank, a teapot, a tow truck and ride a train all for the price of one ticket?

At Museum Hop, which offers two days of admission to seven museums that depict decorative arts, music, automotive and military history.

Museum Hop begins Thursday, Aug. 15, and continues Friday, Aug. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. It's a chance to discover some of the lesser-known treasures that can be found in area museums while learning more about this region's history.

Amy Autenreith, executive director of Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, and one of the Hop's founders, says all the participating venues have recognized over the previous two years that a majority of the Hop's visitors are locals.

"You hear people say, 'I didn't know what this was all about. I've lived here all my life and never realized what we had here.' That's one of the reasons we've reached out in this manner," Autenreith explains.

If you go

› What: Museum Hop› Where: Seven area museums› When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 15-16› Admission: $25 per person, $50 family of four› For tickets:

"Museum Hop brings attention to smaller museums off the beaten path, which is important to us," says Chris McKeever, executive director of the 6th Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, where Hop guests can sample oatmeal cookies made from a World War II recipe.

"We had two sisters who came in last year whose dad had been at the Army post. They were like little schoolkids looking at everything, seeing things he had told them about," McKeever recalls.

Autenreith says just 200 tickets are being sold to Museum Hop; the first 100 folks who purchase tickets will receive commemorative T-shirts. The $25 ticket represents a savings of more than $60 over regular admission prices if you were to visit the same seven venues independently.

Purchase tickets at Then pick up your "passport" at any of the participating museums, which will be stamped at each venue visited.


International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum

3315 Broad St.

Learn how the towing and recovery industry started in Chattanooga in 1916. See 18 antique tow trucks, two Model T automobiles as well as hundreds of collectible toy tow trucks. Walk through the Wall of the Fallen memorial grounds dedicated to men and women who have lost their lives in the line of service in the towing and recovery industry.

photo Coker Museum at Honest Charley contains old manufacturing signs and more than 100 vintage cars, trucks and airplanes. The majority of the display is from the Coker family collection. / Cameron Coker Photography

Coker Museum at Honest Charley

1309 Chestnut St.

Coker Tire started as a local tire shop in 1958 and grew into the world's largest manufacturer/supplier of tires and wheels for collector vehicles. This collection, formerly known as Coker Car Museum, is primarily from the personal collection of the Coker family. Now known as Coker Museum at Honest Charley, it spans over 120 years of automotive history.

Visitors should enter the museum through Honest Charley, not Coker Tire, says Cameron Coker. All exhibits are labeled, allowing visitors to walk through the display at their own pace. Last year, tours were only offered twice a day; now the self-guided tours take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last tour will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center

Northgate Mall near Sears

2 W. Aquarium Way downtown

Museum Hop visitors can tour either or both of these two facilities. The Heritage Center in Northgate Mall will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Exhibits represent the span of Medal of Honor history with artifacts and displays related to Medal of Honor recipients in every military conflict.

As a Hop special offer, the Heritage Center downtown is holding one-hour "hard-hat tours" of the new venue under construction. Two tours will be offered each day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Songbirds Guitar Museum

35 Station St.

Explore a priceless collection of rare vintage guitars through audio and visual components. Visitors will see the most complete collection of Fender and Gibson electric guitars, many rare custom colors, prototypes and instruments that were owned by famous musicians.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

4119 Cromwell Road

Experience the Golden Age of railroading through vintage trains placed in an authentic setting. Guests can tour the display yard featuring steam and diesel locomotives as well as passenger and freight cars.

photo Get a close view of an M-47 Patton tank at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. / Kym Thomas Photo

Visitors also have the option to take a free ride on the Missionary Ridge Local, included in the purchase of a Hop ticket. Trains depart the station at 10:40 a.m. and 12:05 p.m.

6th Cavalry Museum

6 Barnhardt Circle, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia

Where else could you get up close to an M-47 Patton tank? Before the city of Fort Oglethorpe incorporated in 1949, the 6th Cavalry was stationed there from 1919 to 1942.

On the Post's parade ground, surrounded by officers' quarters and many original Post buildings, visitors will learn about the 6th Cavalry through displays of authentic weapons, uniforms, photographs, documents and a fully restored 1944 Willys Jeep.

Houston Museum of Decorative Arts

201 High St.

Step back into a bygone era when you're surrounded by the Houston's priceless collection of Victorian art glass and antiques that is housed in a Victorian residence in the Bluff View Art District.

The collection is an enduring tribute to Anna Safley Houston, who spent half a century building this collection. Take a guided tour for the full experience here.