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Tennessee State Museum: Bringing History Back On The Map

Mar 1, 2008
But the truth is museums are more than a mere display of historical artifacts and artwork. Museums and the organization behind each of them are devoted to the constant acquisition of historical artifacts in order to preserve them for generations to come and to fully understand their symbolism in history. The Tennessee State Museum shares the same goal.

Originally created by the General Assembly to exhibit World War I collections from the state of Tennessee, The Tennessee State museum is devoted to preserving Tennessee's proud history by constantly acquiring historical artifacts and preserving them. But acquiring and preserving artifacts is not the only thing that is important, truly understanding the symbolism of each artifact and sharing this knowledge to the rest of the world and promoting the value of history in this fast-paced, technology-driven era is one of the biggest challenges that the museum has to face.

It is said that the humble beginnings of the museum can be traced to 1817 when the museum was first opened on the Nashville public square by artist Ralph E.W. Earl. The museum has since evolved from simply starting out in the lower level of the War Memorial Building to holding approximately 120, 000 square feet of the new James K. Polk Center in downtown Nashville in 1981. The Tennessee State Museum now holds three floors with more than half of the area dedicated to exhibits.

Founded in 1937, the Tennessee State Museum was founded in 1937 with the intention of bringing together different state-owned collections and historical properties/artifacts. The museum's collection has expanded quickly due to the acquisition of loaned or donated items from individuals and groups brought together by the same goal: to preserve history for future generations. Groups such as the Department of Conservation, the Game & Fish Commission and the United Daughters of Confederacy have loaned and donated items that have added to the museum's growing collection. In 1927, the General Assembly received the collections of the Tennessee Historical Society for the museum. The collection, which contained over 10, 000 historical artifacts, included President Andrew Jackson's top hat.

The museum's growing collection could no longer be contained by the James K. Polk Center alone, the War Memorial Building now serves as the Military Branch of the Tennessee State Museum, showcasing exhibits that tell the tale of America's exploits in foreign wars such as the Spanish-American war and World War II and the contributions of the brave Tennesseans in each war.

The Tennessee State Museum now has a collection of almost 90, 000 historical artifacts and many of the exhibits provide insight on interesting Tennessee celebrities like Elvis Presley, James K. Polk and more.

So before you judge a museum as just plain BORING, try to look beyond the items displayed in it and realize the efforts of all the men and women who throughout history have exerted their efforts to preserve those items just for you to see it.
About the Author
Corey Palmer is a history addict that especially loves the history of Nashville.
Tennessee State Museum
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