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.