Press Releases

Tennessee History Comes Alive This Spring At State Museum

Press Release from the Tennessee State Museum, March 16, 2010:

(NASHVILLE) — For the third consecutive year the Tennessee General Assembly Arts Caucus has partnered with the Tennessee State Museum in organizing a special spring exhibition. Opening March 17, the exhibit entitled, Tennessee History Comes Alive, serves as a showcase for the museum’s permanent collection and is free to the public.

This year each Arts Caucus member has chosen an artifact within the museum’s historical exhibits. Representative Matthew Hill of Jonesborough selected a pottery wheel used by Charles Decker, owner of Keystone Pottery.

Rep. Hill stated: “Tennesseans have the courage to take risks. Charles F. Decker left Germany for America in search of a better life. He created a successful small business called Keystone Pottery in Washington County. In addition to producing everyday pottery, his workers fashioned pieces of artistry and beauty.

Decker had the courage to seek out a better future for himself and his family. In his business pursuits, he demonstrated creativity and innovation. He is one example of the many Tennesseans who have had the daring to pursue their dreams.”

Visitors will interact with historical characters as they tour the exhibit. On Saturday, May 8, the exhibit will literally come alive as interpreters dressed in period costumes portray individuals from our state’s past. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with historical characters while touring the exhibit, and can participate in special games and hands-on activities for children. Tennessee History Comes Alive Family Day begins at 1:00 p.m. and continues until 4:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

“It has been an exciting and educational process for the members of the Arts Caucus to work with the State Museum in choosing artifacts for this exhibit,” Art Caucus chairman and state Senator Doug Overbey noted. “Learning the stories behind these rare treasures and the people whose lives they have touched has been a truly interesting and inspiring experience. For instance, a watch presented by Territorial Governor William Blount to Tennessee Governor John Sevier which I selected to spotlight, demonstrates the leadership quality of both men as they oversaw the transition of Tennessee from being a part of the Territory South of the River Ohio into full statehood.”

“This exhibit, created in partnership with the Tennessee General Assembly Arts Caucus, highlights the ingenuity, craftsmanship, and material culture of Tennesseans,” Lois Riggins-Ezzell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum said. “Visitors will learn about the people who made and owned the fascinating objects on view, unique treasures embodying the two dominant traits of the Tennessee spirit—perseverance and bravery— attributes demonstrated by our state’s historic personalities again and again.”

Tennessee History Comes Alive continues through August 29, 2010. The Tennessee State Museum, located at Fifth and Deaderick Streets in downtown Nashville, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum, which is closed on Mondays, is free to the public.

About the Tennessee General Assembly Arts Caucus:

In 2005, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and the late John Wilder, then Lt. Governor, assisted with the creation of an Arts Caucus within the Tennessee General Assembly. Both Naifeh and Wilder served as the first two founding members. Today the Arts Caucus boasts a membership of 55 House and Senate members and is led by Senator Doug Overbey.

“The Arts Caucus helps facilitate valuable policy discussion on the importance of the arts in our state. The arts have an economic impact on our communities, define who we are culturally and should be part of nearly every policy discussion that takes place in the General Assembly. I am proud to serve as the Chair of this group because I believe the Caucus helps all members of the General Assembly stay informed about the many positive aspects of and the enormous impact of the arts on our citizens.”—Senator Doug Overbey, Chair of the Tennessee General Assembly Arts Caucus. For more information please visit:

About the Tennessee State Museum:

In 1937, the Tennessee General Assembly created a state museum to house World War I mementoes and other collections from the state, along with the Tennessee Historical Society, and other groups. The museum was located in the lower level of the War Memorial Building until it was moved into the new James K. Polk Cultural Center in 1981. The Tennessee State Museum currently occupies three floors, covering approximately 120,000 square feet with more than 60,000 square feet devoted to exhibits. For more information please visit: