The Tennessee State Museum’s new building was receiving some finishing touches prior to its opening on October 4, 2018. Photo by Russell Rivers, Jr.

By Janice Malone

NASHVILLE, TN — The new Tennessee State Museum at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is now open and ready for business.  Last Thursday,  the new Museum officially opened its doors to the public today with a ribbon cutting ceremony, comments by political dignitaries, Museum officials,  and performances by area musicians and the participation of local schoolchildren.

Governor Bill Haslam was joined by Tom Smith, chairman of the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission; Ashley Howell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum; Drew Holcomb, singer-songwriter; students from the John Early Museum Magnet Middle School; the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands; and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, delivered the keynote address. 

Two of the VIP guests included Bobby Cain and JoAnn Allen Boyce, two of the former students of The Clinton 12 students. In 1956, twelve young African-American students walked into history in Clinton, Tennessee. They were the first students to desegregate a state-supported, all white high school in the south.  JoAnn Allen Boyce shares her sentiments about being present for the new museum’s grand opening: “I think this is  wonderful to be here because finally, our story gets to be told in a different light in this magnificent new museum. This is something that’s unusual for us. We do have our own museum in Clinton, TN. (The Green McAdoo Cultural Center and Museum

Ms. Allen Boyce’s longtime classmate and friend Bobby Cain readily agrees. “I agree with JoAnn. It’s an honor and pleasure to be here at this grand opening of this beautiful museum and hopefully, it will be a part of our museum as well.”

The new Tennessee State Museum consists of six permanent exhibitions ranging from First Peoples beginning in 13,000 BCE to Present Day, six temporary galleries highlighting the work of Red Grooms, Tennessee’s Musical Heritage and WWI, among others, a Children’s Gallery, a Digital Learning Center, a beautiful gift shop on the first floor, and even more to see and experience. For opening hours, tours, and more visit: