Dormant Plans Revived To Build New Tennessee State Museum, Archives

The 1998 plan showed the museum anchoring the mall's North side, flanked by the new library and archives building on one side and a second museum on the other. It also anticipated that development would fill in all the way from the mall to the river. Credit: Earl Swensson and Associates

The 1998 plan showed the museum anchoring the mall’s North side, flanked by the new library and archives building on one side and a second museum on the other. It also anticipated that development would fill in all the way from the mall to the river. Credit: Earl Swensson and Associates

A fifteen year old master plan for the area calls for a Bicentennial Mall lined with civic structures. One spot is earmarked for a new state library and archives. Next door is a space meant for a freestanding state museum.

Currently, the museum is tucked under the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in the bottom of an office building. Curator Jim Hoobler says most of its collection is hidden away in a basement.

“The entire twentieth century is in storage here because there isn’t room in this building to do any of it. Tennessee’s 200 years old and half of it is in storage.”

After a series of fits and starts, the State Building Commission has now given the go ahead to put together a preliminary plan and potential budget for constructing a new museum.

The state library and archives is farther along. A conceptual design for that building was approved in 2007. The 76 million dollar plan was set aside during the recession, but recently revived.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.