Walking in Chattanooga–Siskin religious art

Just across the street from the Chattanooga Convention Center is the Siskin Children’s Institute, a place dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with special needs and their families. You can hear the children playing and see some of them in wheelchairs.

Inside the building, however, is one of the biggest collections of religious art in Tennessee and a remarkable story behind it.


The story is told here, and involves a wealthy steel merchant, a brush with death, and a promise to God.

The art consists of items from a variety of religions, but mostly Judaism. No admission is charged; you just walk up and ask to see it. The receptionist asks you to sign in, gives you a badge, and in you go.


Above is part of a collection of pointers, used when reading from the Torah. These are exquisite works of art, and beside them are ivory carvings, elaborate Torah covers, and Buddhist as well as Christian figurines.

If you are in the neighborhood of the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, hike a couple of blocks over to see this hidden delight.

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