Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History Has Everything But a Home

A local scientist says the midstate needs a place to see things like dinosaur bones and rare stones. Geologist Adam Brown has lined up a collection of specimens for what he envisions as the Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History. Now he needs a place to put them.

The Elmwood Mine, near Carthage, is famous among minerologists for its purple flourite, like this specimen taken from the site. Credit Rob Lavinsky, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Elmwood Mine, near Carthage, is famous among minerologists for its purple flourite, like this specimen taken from the site. Credit Rob Lavinsky, via Wikimedia Commons.

If nothing else, Brown says there ought to be a museum to show off things found nearby. He says experts around the world study minerals from a deposit near Carthage. And he points to significant skeletons: a sabre-toothed cat unearthed in downtown Nashville, a mastodon in Franklin, even an ice-age jaguar and giant ground sloth.

“The jaguar and the ground sloth-they’re in museums in other states.”

Brown says that’s because there’s really no good place to display them here.


“The people that know about this stuff want to see stuff like that, if its found, kept in Tennessee, and the stuff that’s taken out of Tennessee, try to get that back.”

Brown stands next to his T-Rex leg in a photo posted on the museum's Facebook page.

Brown stands next to his T-Rex leg in a photo posted on the museum’s Facebook page.

So far, Brown has obtained non-profit status from the IRS. He’s lined up loans of specimens from local collectors, other museums, and Middle Tennessee State University. He’s turned his garage into temporary storage for a stockpile of dinosaur bone casts, including the giant leg of a T-Rex.

What’s missing is a building. Brown says he’s ready now to shift from donations of bones and crystals to those involving cash or real estate, but isn’t sure how long that last, crucial step will take.

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