“Pack the Wagon” May 5 at Tennessee State Museum Polk Center Closing Party

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — One of the Tennessee State Museum’s most cherished and iconic artifacts is its 1860s Conestoga wagon, on display on Level D in the Museum’s current location. Displayed with the wagon is a game that invites visitors to “Pack the Wagon” for their trip to Tennessee by choosing what a settler family might take along with them. The museum is now inviting the public to help “Pack the Wagon,” but instead of a hunting knife, seeds for crops, a plow, farm animals and other items essential in the 1800s, memories and good wishes are asked for to travel along with the wagon to its new home.

That’s the theme and goal of a free party the Tennessee State Museum will throw during its closing weekend, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 5. The museum will move to its new location at Bicentennial Mall State Park in October 2018, and in order to pack and move artifacts and offices will need to close in its current location in the Polk Center. The museum will officially close 5 p.m. May 6 at that location

Visitors to the museum at the “Pack the Wagon” party will enjoy examples of the heralded “Living History” programming, as staff members in the Public Programs Department take on the roles of a Civil War soldier, a WWI Doughboy, a Longhunter, a frontier woman, a Woman Suffragist and more. There will also be a “Wishes & Memories” Post-it wall, where guests will be invited to share their wishes for the new museum—what they want to see and experience—and their memories of the old location (favorite exhibitions, events and more). Visitors will have an opportunity to mail a postcard to themselves in the future, where they’ll share their own goals for the summer of 2018 and be notified when the new museum opens. In addition to crafts, refreshments, entertainment, discounts at the museum store and an opportunity to pick up old catalogs and exhibits, there will also be a “Selfie Station” in front of the Conestoga Wagon, where visitors can capture themselves getting ready for the journey. Hastags: #PacktheWagon and #NewTNMuseum are recommended for social media.

While the Tennessee State Museum will be closed through much of May and into October, the Museum’s Military Branch Museum in War Memorial will remain open. The Museum’s Public Programs staff will continue to offer tours of the Tennessee State Capitol. Popular monthly Lunch & Learn lectures at various locations and trips to historical locations throughout the state will also continue. For more information, visit http://www.tnmuseum.org.

About the Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum was established by law in 1937 “to bring together the various collections of articles, specimens, and relics now owned by the State under one divisional head,” and “to provide for a transfer of exhibits wherever they may be.” 

Today, the Tennessee State Museum is housed in the James K. Polk building in downtown Nashville, where it has been for nearly 35 years. Gov. Bill Haslam proposed and the Tennessee General Assembly approved $120 million in the FY-2015-16 budget to build a new home for the Tennessee State Museum on the Bicentennial Mall to maximize the state’s rich history by creating a state-of-the-art educational asset and tourist attraction for the state. The governor also announced that $40 million would be raised in private funds for the project.

A 140,000-square-foot facility is being built on the northwest corner of the Bicentennial Mall at the corner of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Jefferson Street to tell Tennessee’s story by showcasing one-of-a-kind artifacts, art and historical documents in an interactive and engaging way. More information on the museum can be found at www.tnmuseum.org.

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Need more info?

Cindy Dupree

Director of Public Relations
cindy.dupree@tn.gov
615) 741-9010