Tennessee State Museum gets reaccredited, wins award for food exhibition

The Tennessee State Museum has been awarded a renewed accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. The facility also won an award from the American Association for State and Local History for an exhibition titled “Let’s Eat! The Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food.”

Here’s the  release from the museum,

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – May 20, 2020 – The Tennessee State Museum has received prestigious recognition from two major national museum organizations. The Museum has been re-accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition signifying excellence afforded the nation’s museums. In addition, the Museum is a recipient of an Award of Excellence from The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for its 2019-20 exhibition, Let’s Eat! Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 75th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

“Recognition like this on the national level is an achievement that the Museum and the people of Tennessee can be extremely proud of,” said Ashley Howell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum. “It indicates that we are operating at the highest level in our service to our community and visitors, and in the presentation of our exhibitions and programs. The museum continues to serve through digital programming during our current closure.”

Originally accredited in 2003, the Tennessee State Museum’s re-accreditation comes more than a year-and-a-half after the Museum opened in its new location at Rosa L. Parks Blvd and Jefferson St, at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville. From October, 2018 through February, 2020, some 275,439 visitors came to the Museum and Military Branch of the Museum, including 56,257 students and adults through field trips and group tours. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the Museum opened and closed four temporary exhibitions in that time, including Let’s Eat! Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food. It is readying its latest, Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote, for when the Museum reopens to the public. Complementing its exhibitions, it has hosted dozens of events, lectures, panel discussions and film screenings. Through its statewide education outreach, the Museum offers schools and cultural organizations throughout the state access to its Traveling Trunks program and traveling exhibitions. In its first year in its new location, 55,307 students were served through the Traveling Trunks program.

AAM Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for over 45 years, the Alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, over 1070 are currently accredited. The Tennessee State Museum is one of only 17 museums accredited in Tennessee.

Let’s Eat! Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food ran from August 9, 2019 – February 2, 2020. Curated by the Museum’s Rob DeHart, who recently received a Merit Award from the Tennessee Historical Commission for his work on the exhibition, it explored the rich and diverse history of Tennessee’s food. In 4,000 square feet, the exhibition traced the state’s food traditions from its Southeastern Indian origins to the influence of West African and West European cultural groups to the contribution of more recent immigrants and contemporary food festival celebrations. Stories were told though artifacts from the Museum’s collection, digital storytelling, graphics, location photography and generous programming.

This year, AASLH conferred fifty-seven national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Initiated in 1945, The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena.

About Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum, on the corner of Rosa L Parks Blvd. and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, is home to 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. Through six permanent exhibitions titled Natural History, First Peoples, Forging a Nation, The Civil War and Reconstruction, Change and Challenge and Tennessee Transforms, the Museum takes visitors on a journey – through artifacts, films, interactive displays, events and educational programing – from the state’s geological beginnings to the present day. Additional temporary exhibitions explore significant periods and individuals in history, along with art and cultural movements. For more information on exhibitions, events, and digital programming, please visit tnmuseum.org.

About American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

About American Association for State and Local History

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all people. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and maintains numerous affinity communities and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors an annual meeting, regional and national training in-person workshops, and online training.

10 Responses to Tennessee State Museum gets reaccredited, wins award for food exhibition

  • Avatar
    Ken Jordan says:

    Congratulations to our wonderful State Museum, its directors and staff! Three friends and I toured it on the eve of Bill Lee’s inauguration in January of 2019. A walk through their exhibit area made us all proud to be
    Tennesseans. A great accolade that is mighty well deserved! Kudos, gang!

  • Avatar
    Beatrice Shaw says:

    I love museums! I must go visit

  • Avatar
    MARLE says:

    And for this they get a tax-exempt status. If this is so worthwhile why can’t it support itself and pay taxes rather than having the rest of us pay more so that it can pay ZERO

    • Avatar
      Cannoneer2 says:

      The Tennessee State Museum is one of two things that I can think of right away that I actually enjoy seeing my tax dollars fund. The other is TWRA. If I were in charge, I would 80% defund the mostly useless General Assembly and split the money between the museum and TWRA.

  • Can we drink at the state museum?

  • Pingback: Thursday, May 21

  • Avatar
    Eddie White says:

    I don’t believe TWRA is funded with tax dollars. I believe they are totally funded from license fees.

    • Avatar
      Cannoneer2 says:

      I thought they were partly funded by tax revenue at some point. I don’t get to hunt or fish much any more, but I do buy the licenses each year.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Fix the Streets

  • Avatar
    Eddie White says:

    Cannoneer you could be right, but I thought they were fully funded with the license fees. I support TWRA as well and am certainly willing to buy the annual hunting/fishing license. James, there is no constitutional requirement to fix the roads.

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